Trudeau calls China's Hong Kong diplomacy 'coercive'

Chinese diplomat warns Canada against granting asylum to Hong Kong democracy protesters

Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, a Chinese citizen, was arrested in Vancouver in late 2018 on a bank fraud warrant issued by US authorities.

Doing so would amount to "interference in China's domestic affairs", said Mr Cong, who denounced Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters as "violent criminals".

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 if this was a threat, the ambassador quoted in the Globe and Mail said, "That's your interpretation".

Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne called Cong's statement "totally unacceptable and disturbing".

"We will remain absolutely committed to working with our allies to ensure that China's approach of coercive diplomacy, its arbitrary detention of two Canadian citizens, alongside other citizens of other countries around the world, is not viewed as a successful tactic by them", Trudeau said earlier this week as the two countries marked 50 years of relations at one of the lowest times in bilateral relations.

Meng was arrested on a United States warrant in December 2018 during a stopover in Vancouver and is charged with bank fraud related to violations of United States sanctions against Iran.

Following this, China has detained two Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, who have been charged with "spying on national secrets" and providing intelligence for "outside entities".

Mr Trudeau's government has faced mounting pressure to fix relations with Beijing, almost two years after the arrest of Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a businessman.

On Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hit out at Beijing for what he said was its "coercive diplomacy" as well as the ongoing crackdowns in Hong Kong and on Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.

She is now fighting her extradition to the USA, where she faces fraud charges, in court.

Cong rejected Trudeau's comments at his Thursday press conference.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, is part of China but enjoys unique freedoms as part of the conditions of its handover from the UK. "Whether it's talking about the situation faced by the Uighurs, whether it's talking about the very concerning situation in Hong Kong, whether it's calling out China for its coercive diplomacy".

The law outlaws subversive, secessionist, and terrorist activity, as well as collusion with foreign powers to interfere in the city's internal affairs.



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