Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a question during a news conference, Friday, October 9, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

PM Trudeau says Canada won’t stop calling out China for ‘coercive diplomacy’

PM Trudeau says Canada won’t stop calling out China for ‘coercive diplomacy’

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government will not stop standing up for human rights in China — or calling out Beijing for its coercive approach to diplomacy.

Trudeau said Friday that includes the situation in Hong Kong, where pro-democracy activists have been protesting a widely criticized national security law imposed on the territory by Beijing.

On Thursday, the Chinese ambassador to Canada warned Ottawa against granting asylum to Hong Kong residents fleeing the situation, saying doing so would amount to interfering in China’s internal affairs.

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.

Trudeau said China is engaging in coercive diplomacy by imprisoning two Canadian men, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, in retaliation for the arrest of a Chinese high-tech executive on an American extradition warrant.

“We will make sure that China knows that not only are we standing up for human rights and calling on a safe return of the two Michaels who’ve been arbitrarily detained,” Trudeau said at a news conference, “but we stand with allies around the world and the United States, to Australia, to Great Britain, to European nations to many nations in every corner of the world who share these concerns.”

Cong told reporters in a video press conference on Thursday that China views criticism of its record on human rights as political interference. He also denied allegations that China has forcibly detained ethnic Muslim Uighurs in the country’s southeast.

“We will stand up loudly and clearly for human rights all around the world,” Trudeau said Friday. “Whether it’s talking about the situation faced by the Uighurs, whether it’s … talking about the very concerning situation in Hong Kong, whether it’s calling out China for its coercive diplomacy.”

The Conservatives pushed Trudeau to take a harder line.

“The Chinese ambassador has decided to engage in belligerent rhetoric unbecoming of his office,” leader 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 Council.”

O’Toole said Cong should retract what he said and apologize, and the Liberals should expel him from the country if he won’t.

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, O’Toole added.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 16, 2020.

The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Justin Trudeau accused Canada, not China, of engaging in coercive diplomacy.

China

Just Posted

Mayor Rick Bonnett. (Screenshot)
WATCH: Ponoka council calls on gov’t to support rural small businesses

Ponoka council is calling on the provincial government to increase funding to… Continue reading

Pumpjacks draw oil out of the ground near Olds, Alta., Thursday, July 16, 2020. A new report suggests the economic impact of the pandemic led to a massive increase in federal aid to Canada's oil patch. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta economy ‘still reeling,’ says ATB Financial

Alberta’s economy is still feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and… Continue reading

Ella Stoner, five, is ready to cut off her hair and donate it to A Child’s Voice Foundation. (Photo by Lauren Stoner Photography)
Central Alberta girl to donate her ‘princess hair’ to A Child’s Voice Foundation

A five-year-old girl from Rimbey has never had a haircut before. Now,… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

The Minnesota Wild celebrate their overtime victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Eriksson Ek’s OT goal lifts Wild past Vegas 1-0

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Joel Eriksson Ek’s goal at 3:20 of overtime… Continue reading

Toronto Blue Jays' Lourdes Gurriel Jr., celebrates after hitting a double against the Philadelphia Phillies during the third inning of a baseball game Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Dunedin, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Girardi, Segura have confrontation as Phils lose to Jays

Blue Jays 10 Phillies 8 DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) — The injury-depleted Philadelphia… Continue reading

New York Islanders' Kyle Palmieri (21) returns to the bench after scoring during the first period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Palmieri’s OT winner lifts Isles by Penguins 4-3 in Game 1

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The New York Islanders brought Kyle Palmieri home at… Continue reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions hearing to examine an update from Federal officials on efforts to combat COVID-19, Tuesday, May 11, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)
Fauci says pandemic exposed ‘undeniable effects of racism’

ATLANTA (AP) — The immunologist who leads the COVID-19 response in the… Continue reading

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, participates in a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Feds face growing calls for answers after general overseeing vaccine effort sidelined

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government is facing growing calls for answers… Continue reading

Conservative MP Ron Liepert rises during Question Period on Parliament Hill, Friday, March 10, 2017 in Ottawa. Ron Liepert says these days, the phone calls and emails from people wanting to talk about his party's climate plan have slowed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Alberta MP pitches Conservative carbon price with a 24-pack of Pilsner

OTTAWA — Ron Liepert says these days, the phone calls and emails… Continue reading

A sign marks Stairs Place in the Hydrostone district in the North end of Halifax on Thursday, May 13, 2021. The street was named for William Grant Stairs, a Canadian explorer from Halifax who helped lead some of the most controversial expeditions through the African continent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Where the streets have explorers’ names, some Halifax residents call for change

HALIFAX — When builders created Halifax’s distinctive Hydrostone neighbourhood more than a… Continue reading

Riley Oldford, 16, suffers from cerebral palsy. He was the first youth in the Northwest Territories to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Here he receives the needle from nurse practitioner Janie Neudorf in Yellowknife on Thursday May 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Bill Braden
People with disabilities even more alone during pandemic: cerebral palsy spokeswoman

YELLOWKNIFE — Riley Oldford is usually out playing sledge hockey or hanging… Continue reading

Most Read