Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 February 2020

Canada warned against ‘meddling’ in Hong Kong affairs by Chinese embassy

Thousands of Canadians have taken to the streets in cities across the country

Demonstrators for and against extradition law changes in Hong Kong held counter-rallies in Vancouver, Canada, on Saturday. AFP
Demonstrators for and against extradition law changes in Hong Kong held counter-rallies in Vancouver, Canada, on Saturday. AFP

China’s embassy in Ottawa warned Canada on Sunday to stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs a day after Canada issued a joint statement with the European Union in defence of the “fundamental right of assembly” for Hong Kong citizens.

Hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters rallied peacefully in the Asian financial hub on Sunday in the 11th week of what have been often violent demonstrations in the territory.

On the eve of Sunday’s rally, Canadian Foreign Minister Chyrstia Freeland and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said: “Fundamental freedoms, including the right of peaceful assembly ... must continue to be upheld.”

The Canada-EU statement also expressed concerns about the escalation of violence and encouraged engagement by all sides to ease tensions.

The Chinese embassy said in a statement on its website that Canada should “immediately stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs.”

“Under the current situation, the Canadian side should be cautious on its words and deeds regarding the Hong Kong related issue,” the statement said.

“The relevant protests and demonstrations in Hong Kong have already deteriorated and evolved into extreme violence. In face of such severe violence and offences, no government with a sense of responsibility would sit idly by,” it said.

Canada’s foreign ministry had no immediate response. About 300,000 Canadian citizens live in Hong Kong, the ministry said.

Thousands of Canadians took to the streets of cities across the country on Saturday in solidarity with the Hong Kong protesters, facing off against pro-Beijing demonstrators.

Demonstrators from both camps squared off in front of a metro station in the western city of Vancouver, home to a large Chinese community, with the crowds separated by police.

Supporters from both camps also confronted each other in Canada’s largest city, Toronto, with the atmosphere tense, local media said.

“We have got the police permit to launch a peaceful march, however, before we could go out to start a march, we noticed that there’s a very well-orchestrated counter-rally here by the pro-China camp,” Gloria Fung, president of Canada-Hong Kong Link, told CBC News.

Police intervened to keep rival groups apart in the city of Calgary, Alberta, CBC reported.

Canada has been caught up in a diplomatic dispute with China since Canada’s detention of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, on a US warrant in December.

Shortly after Meng’s arrest in Vancouver, China detained two Canadian men, who have yet to be released. China has also blocked imports of some Canadian commodities.

The US has also expressed its interest in seeing a peaceful solution to the impasse between Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam and protesters, who want her to resign. They are also demanding complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, a halt to descriptions of the protests as “rioting”, a waiver of charges against those arrested, an independent inquiry and the resumption of political reform.

Donald Trump hinted on Sunday that the White House would like to see Beijing resolve the protests before the world’s two largest economies could reach a trade deal.

“I would like to see Hong Kong worked out in a very humanitarian fashion,” Trump said. “I think it would be very good for the trade deal.”

Further demonstrations are planned in the coming weeks, including protests planned by Christians and even an accountants’ group.

Updated: August 19, 2019 02:48 PM



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