Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday criticised China’s “coercive diplomacy,” repressive measures in Hong Kong and detention of Uyghur Muslims, saying they are counterproductive both for Beijing and for the rest of the world.
“We will remain absolutely committed to working with our allies to ensure that China’s approach of coercive diplomacy, its arbitrary detention of two Canadian citizens alongside other citizens of other countries around the world is not viewed as a successful tactic by them”, Trudeau said. He also stressed Canada’s “concern for the protection of human rights and places like Hong Kong” and “with the Uyghurs”.
The Chinese embassy in Ottawa did not have an immediate response to Trudeau’s criticism of its diplomacy. China has repeatedly said Canada must set Meng Wanzhou, a senior executive of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, free before relations can improve.
Ties between the two countries deteriorated in 2018 after Canadian police arrested Meng on a US extradition warrant. She is charged with bank fraud related to violations of US sanctions against Iran. Soon after, China detained two Canadians and charged them with spying.
Tuesday marked the 50th anniversary of Canada’s diplomatic ties with China. Trudeau said that Canada would “continue to work with our fellow like-minded nations around the world, to impress upon China that its approach to internal affairs and global affairs is not on a particularly productive path for itself or for all of us”.