China envoy warns Canada against granting protesters asylum

Elias Hubbard
October 16, 2020

Responding to a question about a media report that a Hong Kong pro-democracy protester had been granted asylum in Canada, Cong said China strongly urged that "violent criminals" from Hong Kong not be granted asylum.

Ortagus cited the arrests of peaceful protestors, the stationing of Chinese security agents in the territory and the "politically motivated delay" of September elections for the local assembly as evidence of the deterioration of rights promised to Hong Kong by Beijing at the time of its 1997 handover to Chinese control.

So, if the Canadian side really cares about the stability and the prosperity in Hong Kong, and really cares about the good health and safety of those 300,000 Canadian passport-holders in Hong Kong, and the large number of Canadian companies operating in Hong Kong SAR, you should support those efforts to fight violent crimes, Cong said.

"I have instructed Global Affairs to call the ambassador in to make clear in no uncertain terms that Canada will always stand up for human rights and the rights of Canadians around the world", Champagne said in a statement published by Canadian news organizations.

China on Thursday said new US sanctions on officials responsible for Hong Kong security are an attempt to undermine the city's stability and threatened unspecified countermeasures.

"It is interference in China's domestic affairs and certainly will embolden those violent criminals", he said. "Ambassador Cong suggested so himself". The relations between China and Canada were strained by the arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, in Vancouver in 2018 on a bank fraud warrant issued by the United States authorities.

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.

Following this, China has detained two Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, who have been charged with "spying on national secrets" and providing intelligence for "outside entities".

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