China warns Canada against granting Hong Kongers sanctuary

Chinese diplomat warns Canada against granting asylum to Hong Kong democracy protesters

Both have been charged with spying, but many believe the arrests were made in retaliation for the detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, at the request of the US.

China on Friday justified a warning by its envoy to the Canadian government to not to grant asylum to Hong Kong residents fleeing overseas, saying that the ambassador was stating Beijing's just position.

Yesterday, the Chinese ambassador to Canada warned Ottawa against granting asylum to Hong Kong residents fleeing the situation.

The remarks by Cong Peiwu, Beijing's Ottawa envoy, prompted a rebuke from Canada's foreign minister, further escalating tensions between the two countries.

Trudeau says 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. The U.S., Britain and Canada accuse China of infringing on the city's freedoms. "And certainly, it will embolden those violent criminals", Cong said in a video press conference.

Cong went on to say Meng and the arrests of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were "not related" and that it was Canada that used "coercive measures" by arresting Meng when "she was breaking no Canadian law at all".

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"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", he said in a statement carried by the Globe and Mail and other Canadian news outlets. Meng, who is now facing trial in the case, is also the daughter of Chinese telecom giant Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei.

She is now fighting her extradition to the United States, where she faces fraud charges, in court. In the past, Beijing has accused Ottawa of being an accomplice to Washington and interfering in China's domestic affairs.

The tension between the two was ignited by the 2018 detention in Vancouver of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a US extradition request, and subsequent arrest and imprisonment of two Canadians in China on alleged espionage charges.

Mr Trudeau's government has faced mounting pressure to fix relations with Beijing, almost two years after the arrest of Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a businessman.

"There is no coercive diplomacy on the Chinese side", he said. A large number of Hong Kong residents have been leaving the former British colony resenting China's move to extend the new security law to the specially administered province.

On Tuesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hit out at Beijing for what he said was its "coercive diplomacy" as well as the ongoing crackdowns in Hong Kong and on Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang.

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