Canada Rejects Chinese Warning Against Granting Asylum to Hong Kong Protesters

Cheryl Sanders
October 17, 2020

Meng Wanzhou is living under house arrest in Vancouver while her case wends through a British Columbia court.

"If the Canadian side really cares about stability and prosperity in Hong Kong, and really cares about the good health and safety of those 300,000 Canadian passport holders in Hong Kong and the large number of Canadian companies operating in Hong Kong ... you should support those efforts to fight violent crimes", Mr Cong said.

In the recent past, a series of developments has strained relations between China and Canada - the detention of the Huawei senior official Meng Wanzhou in connection with an extradition request by the USA, the retaliatory arrest of two Canadian citizens in China, the decision by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to suspend the extradition treaty with Hong Kong after Beijing promulgated the national security law for Hong Kong.

Asked about Cong's remarks which were interpreted as a warning by Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here that, "the Chinese embassy in Canada just made clear our just position on issues relating to Hong Kong".

Trudeau said Friday that includes the situation in Hong Kong, where pro-democracy activists have been protesting a widely criticized national security law imposed on the territory by Beijing.

"We strongly urge the Canadian side not (to) grant so-called political asylum to those violent criminals in Hong Kong because it is the interference in China's domestic affairs".

"There's no coercive diplomacy on the Chinese side", Cong Peiwu, China's envoy to Ottawa, said in a video news conference on Twitter.

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne called Cong Peiwu's statements, "inappropriate".

Trudeau said Canada stands with with allies around the world and the United States, to Australia, to Great Britain, to European nations to many nations around the world who share these concerns.

Ties plummeted following Canada's arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and daughter of its founder.

Western governments see the detention of the two Canadians as direct retaliation by Beijing. But an open threat to the well-being of more than a quarter-million citizens is unprecedented and unacceptable, however angry China might be over Canada's asylum policy towards Hong Kong protesters. "They are purely about internal affairs of China, which brooks no interference from the outside".

Then on Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned the detention of the two Canadians saying Canada would work with others to ensure China's "coercive diplomacy" would not be successful. A previous version said Justin Trudeau accused Canada, not China, of engaging in coercive diplomacy.

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