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23 Nov, 2019 06:22

Chinese ambassador warns Canada of ‘VERY BAD damage’ to relations if it takes up US line on HK protests

Chinese ambassador warns Canada of ‘VERY BAD damage’ to relations if it takes up US line on HK protests

Beijing’s new ambassador to Canada has urged Ottawa not to echo American support for ongoing protests in Hong Kong, warning that such a move would be ruinous to relations for the two countries.

While lawmakers have frequently voiced concern about the 300,000 Canadian citizens residing in Hong Kong amid the unrest, Ottawa has yet to formally endorse the territory’s protest movement. In a press conference on Friday, China’s freshly appointed envoy, Cong Peiwu, insisted it should refrain from doing so.

“If somebody here really tries to… have this kind of law like that in the United States, it’s very dangerous,” the ambassador told reporters at the Chinese Embassy.

If anything happens like this it will certainly have a very bad damage on our bilateral relationship and that is not in the interests of Canada.

A pair of “Hong Kong Human Rights” bills blazed through both chambers of the US legislature earlier this week with near unanimous support. If approved by President Donald Trump, the law would establish a State Department “review” process to evaluate Hong Kong’s level of “autonomy,” threatening punitive sanctions on Beijing if the agency finds it wanting.

While the bills have yet to be signed into law, their passage in Congress nonetheless prompted a swift rebuke from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, which slammed the legislation as an attempt to “bolster anti-China extremists,” and to “contain China” by exploiting the protests.

Also on rt.com Beijing slams ‘hidden agenda’ behind Hong Kong ‘human rights act’ as US Senate votes unanimously in favor

Asked by a reporter on Wednesday what policies Canada would pursue to protect its citizens in Hong Kong, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his administration would “continue to call for de-escalation and an end to violence,” as well as for dialogue between the protesters and Hong Kong’s authorities.

Ambassador Cong also urged Canada to halt legal proceedings against Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, who was detained on a US arrest warrant last December on charges of conspiracy to defraud international institutions. Released on bail, Meng now faces extradition to the US.

“This incident has led to the severe difficulties the two countries are facing nowadays,” he said, referring to both Meng’s case and an ongoing trade spat.

Also on rt.com UN decries ‘extreme violence’ by Hong Kong protesters amid fears of further escalation

Hong Kong has been gripped by over six months of unrest, sparked by a controversial extradition bill which critics said would have given mainland China too much power over the territory. While the bill has since been permanently shelved, protests over police misconduct, among other complaints, have only grown in violence and intensity.

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