By Agence France-Presse
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday urged China to be “very careful” in how it responds to pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and to heed their “legitimate” demands.
“We’re extremely concerned about the situation in Hong Kong,” Trudeau told a press conference.
“We’re calling for peace, for order, for dialogue,” he said. “We certainly call on China to be very careful and very respectful in how it deals with people who have legitimate concerns in Hong Kong.”
The semi-autonomous southern Chinese city has endured weeks of protests triggered by a government bid to introduce a law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.
The demonstrations have evolved into a movement for democratic reform and an end to eroding freedoms, in the most significant challenge to Beijing’s rule since the city’s handover from Britain in 1997.
There are about 300,000 Canadians living and working in Hong Kong — the largest Canadian expatriate community in Asia, according to Canada’s foreign ministry.
Trudeau’s comments came on the same day thousands of pro-democracy protesters flooded Hong Kong’s airport to denounce police violence, forcing the cancellation of all flights.
This came as Beijing linked to “terrorism” violent protesters who had thrown petrol bombs.
Relations between Canada and China have fallen to a never-before-seen low over the arrest on a US warrant of an executive from Chinese firm Huawei in Vancouver last December, and Beijing’s detention of two Canadians in apparent retaliation.