Canada warns about travel to Hong Kong, agrees with calls for peace

Canada warns about travel to Hong Kong, agrees with calls for peace

OTTAWA — It would be a mistake to label pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong as terrorists, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Wednesday as her government issued a pointed warning to Canadians about travelling to the semi-independent Chinese territory.

As Freeland spoke, some level of calm had descended on Hong Kong as demonstrators regrouped after shutting down the city’s airport for two straight days.

The protesters want democratic reforms amid fears China is reneging on freedoms promised to Hong Kong in 1997 when mainland China took control of the city after decades of British rule.

The demonstrations began in the spring after the Hong Kong government introduced legislation that would allow Hong Kong residents who are arrested to be sent to China for trial.

After 10 straight weeks of protests and violent clashes with police, and with the Chinese military amassing near the Hong Kong border, Canada issued a travel warning Wednesday morning, telling Canadians to “exercise a high degree of caution in Hong Kong due to ongoing large-scale demonstrations.”

“This is a turbulent moment in the world,” Freeland told a news conference in Toronto, where she met with German’s foreign minister Heiko Maas.

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