‘Fundamental freedoms’ meets ‘meddling in Hong Kong’ . . .
As hundreds of thousands in Hong Kong rallied peacefully on Sunday, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini jointly said that “fundamental freedoms . . . must continue,” “it is crucial that restraint be exercised,” and “dialogue, involving all key stakeholders, is essential.” In response, China’s Embassy in Ottawa told Canada to stop “meddling,” and China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang specifically rebuked Freeland over her statements on Hong Kong. Xinwen Lianbo, a nightly state-run newscast, then widely reported these remarks by Geng, a rare escalation in the diplomatic world. In response, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that he would not escalate Canada’s spat with China, but he also made it clear that Canada would not back down, as he repeated his call for restraint surrounding ongoing protests in Hong Kong.
China demands Canada deeply reflect, stay out of Hong Kong . . .
Chinese Embassy officials accused Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland of “meddling in Hong Kong affairs,” adding that, “under the current situation, the Canadian side should be cautious on its words and deeds” and, “we demand the Canadian side to deeply reflect upon its mistakes.” Chinese officials, including Geng, have demanded Canada stay out of all matters related to Hong Kong, at a time when Canada’s 2018 arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou has already greatly damaged bilateral relations.
Impacts on people, trade continue . . .
Meng Wanzhou, who remains under house arrest in Canada, has begun her own legal proceedings against Canadian police over her arrest in Vancouver last December on a U.S. extradition warrant. Canadian citizens detained by China soon after Meng’s arrest remain in custody, although Freeland notes that “Canada has been very effective in building an international coalition of partners and allies who go out of their way to advocate on behalf of the detained Canadians.” Freeland raised the issue in a recent meeting with China, along with the issue of trade blockages of canola and other Canadian agricultural products.
- South China Morning Post: US, Canada urge China to respect ‘one country, two systems’
- National Post: Canada's Trudeau says will not back down in dispute with China
- CBC: Chinese Embassy tells Canada to stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs