OTTAWA: Canadian PM Justin Trudeau said that his government will “stand up loudly and clearly for human rights” in China, after Chinese ambassador warned that granting asylum to Hong Kong protesters could put Canadians in danger.
Trudeau added that they would continue to speak about the Uighurs issue, situation in Hong Kong, and call out “China for its coercive diplomacy”.
However, Trudeau added that he was not looking to escalate tensions with China.
A long-running diplomatic dispute heated up again this week when the Chinese government took issue with Trudeau’s earlier comments, and on Thursday the Chinese envoy to Ottawa, Cong Peiwu, warned Canada against granting asylum to Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters.
Cong said the “health and safety” of the 300,000 Canadian passport holders in Hong Kong could be jeopardized by these “violent criminals” and so Canada should not protect them.
The diplomatic dispute stems from the arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, a Chinese citizen, in Vancouver in late 2018 on a bank fraud warrant issued by U.S. authorities.
Meng has said she is innocent and is fighting extradition in a Canadian court. Shortly after Meng’s arrest, Beijing detained two Canadians on national security charges and halted imports of canola seed.