China warns Canada against right to asylum for Hong Kong people

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A senior Chinese diplomat on Thursday warned Canada about welcoming Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters to its soil, explaining that there could be consequences for “the health and safety” of Canadians living in the territory. Chinese theoretically autonomous.

These comments by Cong Peiwu, Chinese Ambassador to Ottawa, provoked the reaction of the Canadian Foreign Minister, François-Philippe Champagne, who deemed his remarks “totally unacceptable and disturbing”, a sign of the growing tensions between the two. country.

The diplomat was speaking on granting asylum in Canada to a Hong Kong couple who took part in the sometimes violent protests that rocked the city last year, which could pave the way for other similar demands for the part of demonstrators fleeing the repression of the Chinese police forces.

“We urge the Canadian government not to grant so-called political asylum to these violent Hong Kong criminals, as it is interference in Chinese internal affairs and this will only embolden these violent criminals,” he said. the Chinese representative said at an online press conference.

“If Canada truly cares about the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, and the health and safety of the estimated 300,000 Canadians living in the city and the many Canadian businesses that work there, it should support the efforts of fight against these violent crimes, ”added Mr. Cong.

“I asked my services to join the ambassador in order to clarify the fact that Canada will always be on the side of human rights and the rights of Canadians everywhere in the world”, replied Mr. Champagne in a communicated.

Sino-Canadian relations have deteriorated deeply since the end of 2018, with the arrest of the financial director of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, also the daughter of the group’s founder.

Canada was responding to a request from the United States accusing Meng for circumventing US sanctions on Iran on behalf of Huawei.

Under house arrest, the senior executive of Huawei is trying to obtain the annulment of the extradition procedure currently being studied by the Canadian justice.

Shortly after the arrest of Mme Meng, former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor have been arrested in China on charges of espionage, an act seen by Western countries as retaliation from Beijing.

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