Lu Shaye, the Chinese ambassador to Canada who has been a combative presence throughout a serious and ongoing dispute between the two countries, is expected to depart soon for a new posting, CBC News has confirmed.
With Lu’s departure, neither country will have a permanent ambassador in place at a moment of great tension on several fronts.
Canada and China have been at odds since December 2018, when Canadian authorities detained Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the Chinese telecom giant Huawei, on an extradition request from the United States.
Soon after, Chinese authorities detained two Canadian citizens: Michael Spavor, a businessman, and Michael Kovrig, a Canadian diplomat on leave to work for a non-governmental organization.
John McCallum, the former Liberal cabinet minister appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to represent Canada in China, was fired as ambassador in January after making public comments about Meng’s case.
In March, China began to cut off imports of canola seed from Canada. Just this week, China said it would increase its inspection of Canadian pork products.
Federal officials in Canada are also still weighing whether to allow Huawei access to Canada’s 5G wireless network.
In a news conference in January, Lu said there would be “repercussions” for Canada if Huawei is rejected on national security grounds. In a newspaper op-ed that same month, he said the international community’s treatment of China reflected an attitude of “white supremacy.”