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Trudeau overlooks ties to meddle in Hong Kong affairs

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/22 23:08:40

Editor's Note:

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday repeated his concerns about China's Hong Kong, meddling yet again in the country's internal affairs. Why did Trudeau make an issue of Hong Kong? Three Chinese experts shared their views with the Global Times on these issues.

Yao Peng, associate researcher and executive vice director of the Center for Canadian Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

Trudeau said on Wednesday that his government is closely monitoring the protest movement in Hong Kong, where there are 300,000 Canadian citizens. He made the remarks during a speech before the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations in Montreal. This is not the first time he has publicly talked about Hong Kong.

One reason why Trudeau ratcheted up rhetoric on the Hong Kong affairs is that Canada has never attached importance to relations with China from a strategic perspective in the past more than 10 years. 

Failing to comprehensively realize the economic strength of China, the Canadian government and even the Canadian people have been skeptical about China's peaceful rise for a long time. This is another reason that makes Ottawa repeatedly touch the red line of Ottawa-Beijing relations.

Such being the case, Trudeau emphasized he would not escalate a deepening trade dispute with China. However, he is unable to figure out a balance between China-Canada relationship and US-Canada relationship. Currently, the Trudeau administration aims at showing its consistency with the US by being biased on China-related issues, including making an issue of Hong Kong.

Trudeau was found to violate ethics when he tried to pressure his former justice minister and attorney general to drop criminal charges against a Quebec-based company, according to a report released on August 14 by Mario Dion, Canada's Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner. Amid a political scandal, it is obvious a maneuver by Trudeau to shift attention from him by taking advantage of Hong Kong situation. 

Trudeau's Liberal Party is now in a "neck-and-neck race" with its main rival, the Conservative Party of Canada, and is eager to please some voters with a radical stance. This could be another reason why the Trudeau administration has been acting tough on China. 

Li Haidong, professor at Institute of International Relations, China Foreign Affairs University

Trudeau called for restraint and respect for human rights on Wednesday in regard to protests in Hong Kong. His remarks reflect his double standards over China.

Ottawa's crackdown on Chinese scholars in this North American country is not in line with Trudeau's vaunted democracy, freedom and human rights. For example, Qiu Xiangguo, head of the Vaccine Development and Antiviral Therapies section in the Special Pathogens Program, her husband biologist Cheng Keding, and Qiu's students were escorted from the National Microbiology Lab and their security access revoked on July 5, just due to the alleged "policy breach."

When Trudeau appealed to the Chinese central government to respect freedom and human rights of Hongkongers, he should rethink his disregard for the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese in Canada.

The freedom and democracy of Hong Kong lies in that it is the people of Hong Kong who can help resolve the issue, rather than the outsiders. Trudeau's words were to stir up troubles and will make the chaos even worse.

Canada repeatedly made statements on Hong Kong because this country blindly follows the US on China policy. Ottawa's diplomacy lacks independence and dignity of a great power, and the country is willing to be the "footman" of Washington.

Canada's remarks over Hong Kong would further worsen strained China-Canada ties. Canada cannot interfere in China's internal affairs and should respect the nation's sovereignty.

Xia Guohan, a research fellow at the Charhar Institute

The following reasons are behind Canada's interference in Hong Kong.

First, in the context of China-US rivalry, Canada has suffered a collateral damage and its ties with China have taken a turn for the worse recently. Additionally, 2019 Canadian federal election is scheduled in October. Trudeau may be seeking to be re-elected by showing his tough stance on Hong Kong against China.

Second, the color revolution incited in Hong Kong aims at provoking the People's Liberation Army Garrison in Hong Kong so as to forge another June 4 political incident. As a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing group, Canada is deeply linked with the US and the UK in the sphere of intelligence.

Last but not the least, Trudeau deliberately confused riots with peaceful assembly. Explosives have been found where leaders of protests had gathered. This is no longer merely riot but bordering to terrorism. According to the Canadian Criminal Code, police have the right to quell riots, not to mention a terrorist attack. Take what the US police did during the Occupy Wall Street movement and what British officers did in the Extinction Rebellion movement. Hong Kong's police have been enforcing law with great restraints.



Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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