Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a news conference Photograph:( Reuters )
His statement came after a top Chinese diplomat warned Canada Thursday against granting asylum to Hong Kong democracy protesters
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday said he will continue to stand up against China's "coercive diplomacy" and its human rights abuses in Hong Kong and Xinjiang after being rebuked by Beijing for similar comments earlier this week.
"We will stand up loudly and clearly for human rights all around the world, whether it is talking about the situation faced by the Uighurs, whether it is talking about the very concerning situation in Hong Kong, whether it's calling out China for its coercive diplomacy," Trudeau said in a news conference.
His statement came after a top Chinese diplomat warned Canada Thursday against granting asylum to Hong Kong democracy protesters, adding that doing so could jeopardize the "health and safety" of Canadians living in the southern Chinese financial hub.
The remarks by Cong Peiwu, Beijing's Ottawa envoy, prompted a rebuke from Canada's foreign minister, further escalating tensions between the two countries.
Canada's Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne described Cong's comments as "totally unacceptable and disturbing".
"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.
China and Canada are marking 50 years since they forged diplomatic ties but those relations are deeply strained.
Ties plummeted following Canada's arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and daughter of its founder.
Meng was arrested on a US warrant in December 2018 during a stopover in Vancouver and is charged with bank fraud related to violations of US sanctions against Iran.