Trudeau: Canada will not be cowed by China on human rights

  • Trudeau: Canada will not be cowed by China on human rights

Trudeau: Canada will not be cowed by China on human rights

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

Cong Peiwu said if Canada cares about 300,000 Canadian citizens in Hong Kong - and Canadian companies doing business there - it should support efforts to fight what he called fight violent crime.

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 United States, 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.

Some leading Hong Kong protesters have fled for the West in recent months after the mainland authorities in Beijing passed a security law that reduces the city's autonomy and makes it easier to punish pro-democracy protesters. The US, Britain and Canada accuse China of infringing on the city's freedoms.

Cong told reporters in a video press conference on Thursday that China views criticism of its record on human rights as political interference.

Cong went on to say Meng and the arrests of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were "not related" and that it was Canada that used "coercive measures" by arresting Meng when "she was breaking no Canadian law at all".

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

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

Relations between the two nations have been frosty since 2018, when two Canadians were detained in China over spying allegations.

Cong also flatly rejected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's assertion that China is engaging in coercive diplomacy by imprisoning two Canadian men in retaliation for the arrest of a Chinese Huawei executive on an American extradition warrant.

By contrast, Canada's lawful and humane treatment of Meng, in which she is afforded every luxury while her extradition case grinds its way forward in Vancouver, stands in stark contrast to China's thuggish behaviour when it comes to Canada's two Michaels.

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.

"It should not be lost on Canadians living in Hong Kong or China, they could be next".

"There is no coercive diplomacy on the Chinese side", he said. In the past, Beijing has accused Ottawa of being an accomplice to Washington and interfering in China's domestic affairs.