Canada will continue to defend human rights in China, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised on Friday after a warning from a senior Chinese diplomat against welcoming pro-democracy Hong Kong protesters to this country.
Chinese Ambassador to Ottawa Cong Peiwu on Thursday called on Canada not to grant asylum to Hong Kong people, which could have consequences for “the health and safety” of some 300,000 Canadians living in the territory. Chinese theoretically endowed with a certain autonomy.
According to the daily “Globe and Mail”, Ottawa recently granted asylum to a couple from Hong Kong, information neither denied nor confirmed by the Canadian authorities.
“We will defend, loud and clear, human rights all over the world, whether it is the situation of the Uighurs, the very worrying situation in Hong Kong or call to order China for its coercive diplomacy Said Mr. Trudeau, who was questioned by the press on the comments of the Chinese ambassador.
“We are not looking for escalation,” he added, however.
A sign of the growing tensions between the two countries, the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne had previously judged the words of the Chinese ambassador “totally unacceptable and disturbing”.
The new leader of the Canadian conservative opposition, Erin O’Toole, for his part called on the Chinese ambassador to “retract completely and issue a public apology”.
“If the ambassador does not do it quickly, we expect the government to strip him of his titles,” added O’Toole, who has vowed to toughen up against Beijing if he ever becomes first. minister.
Sino-Canadian relations have been going through a serious crisis since the arrest in December 2018 in Canada of the chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, Meng Wanzhou. The United States accuses him of circumventing US sanctions against Iran and calls for his extradition.
Shortly after Ms Meng, who lives on probation in Vancouver, was arrested, former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor were arrested in China on charges of espionage, an act considered by Western countries as retaliation from Beijing.