12/20/2011 12:33 EST | Updated 02/19/2012 05:12 EST

Chinese news agency reporter replaced after flirtatious emails with Tory MP

OTTAWA - China's state-controlled news agency has replaced its controversial Toronto correspondent.

The former Xinhua news agency correspondent, a woman named Shi Rong, had a flirtatious email exchange with Conservative MP Bob Dechert that was made public this past summer.

Shi has since returned to China.

Xinhua's Ottawa bureau chief tells The Canadian Press that the agency has assigned a new chief correspondent to Toronto, and that Shi won't be returning to Canada.

No other details were available.

Dechert, parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, has insisted his relationship with Shi was an innocent friendship.