There are 300,000 Canadian citizens living in Hong Kong and around 500,000 Hong Kongers in Canada. The former British colony has been struck by protests over recent weeks amid a controversial extradition bill with mainland China that has seen clashes between police and protestors. Sunday saw a peaceful rally in the Special Administrative Region of China with organisers claiming 1.7 million marched from Causeway Bay to Central on Hong Kong Island.
On the eve of the rally, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said: “Fundamental freedoms, including the right of peaceful assembly must continue to be upheld.”
Ottawa and Brussels encouraged engagement and dialogue to ease tensions after the 11th weekend of protests.
A statement on the Chinese embassy website called for Canada to “immediately stop meddling in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs.
“Under the current situation, the Canadian side should be cautious on its words and deeds regarding the Hong Kong related issue.
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“The relevant protests and demonstrations in Hong Kong have already deteriorated and evolved into extreme violence. In face of such severe violence and offences, no government with a sense of responsibility would sit idly by.”
The victory of the Chinese Communist Party in the Chinese Civil War caused a breakdown in diplomatic relations between the two states.
In 1970, Pierre Trudeau, father of current Canadian Prime Minister Justin became one of the first western leaders to shift recognition from the Taipei based Republic of China to Beijing based People’s Republic of China.
The position of Canadian Ambassador to China is currently vacant following the resignation of John McCallum at the request of the younger Mr Trudeau in January.
In December, Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wazhou was arrested in Vancouver on suspicion of violating US sanctions against Iran after a request by Washington.
Shortly after the arrest, China detained two yet to be released Canadian men one espionage charges and banned import of certain Canadian goods.
One, Michael Spavor, is a director of Paektu Cultural Exchange, which promotes investment and tourism in North Korea.
The other is former diplomat Michael Kovrig.