Trudeau trades barbs with China after veiled threat to Canadians

Trudeau said Canada stands with allies around the world including the United States, Australia, Britain and European nations who share these concerns.

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Canadian opposition Conservative leader said the Chinese ambassador should apologise or be expelled from Canada.

“The Chinese ambassador has decided to engage in belligerent rhetoric unbecoming of his office,” Erin O’Toole said in a written statement.

“To be clear, this was a threat to the 300,000 Canadians in Hong Kong. And a barely veiled one at that. It was of the kind of tone and tenor one would expect from someone seeking protection money — not someone who is the official emissary of a member of the United Nations Security,” O’Toole said.

The government should also swiftly set up a “path” for political refugees to come to Canada from Hong Kong and impose sanctions on Chinese officials over the national security law, he added.

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Protests against the Hong Kong and mainland Chinese governments swelled last year, and Beijing clamped down on anti-government sentiment in the city with a new national security law that took effect on June 30.

The law outlaws subversive, secessionist, and terrorist activity, as well as collusion with foreign powers to interfere in the city’s internal affairs. The US, Britain and Canada accuse China of infringing on the city’s freedoms.

Trudeau also said China was engaging in coercive diplomacy by imprisoning two Canadian men in retaliation for the arrest of a Chinese Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou, on an American extradition warrant. In December 2018, China imprisoned Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and charged them with undermining the country’s national security.

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