China’s newly announced sanctions placed on Canadian parliamentarians and the country’s democratic institutions are “unacceptable” and an “attack on transparency and freedom of expression,” Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister says.
“The Government of Canada stands with parliamentarians and all Canadians as we continue to work with partners in defence of democracy and freedom of speech and will continue to take action when international human rights obligations are violated,” Marc Garneau said in a statement released Saturday afternoon.
“We need to stand together to remind those who violate human and democratic rights that the world is watching.”
In a tweet, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau echoed Garneau’s comments, saying the sanctions are an attack on the “values at the heart of our democracy.”
China’s sanctions are an attack on transparency and freedom of expression – values at the heart of our democracy. We stand with Parliamentarians against these unacceptable actions, and we will continue to defend human rights around the world with our international partners. https://t.co/gtMleSAaEd
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 27, 2021
“We stand with Parliamentarians against these unacceptable actions, and we will continue to defend human rights around the world with our international partners,” he wrote.
On Saturday morning, China announced it would be imposing sanctions on Canadian Conservative MP Michael Chong, who serves as the vice-chair of Parliament’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development (FAAE).
The country has also placed sanction on the FAAE’s Subcommittee on International Human Rights, which has eight members and this month presented a report concluding that atrocities had been committed in Xinjiang that constitute crimes against humanity and genocide.
China also announced sanctions on individuals and entities in the U.S.
In a statement announcing the move, China’s ministry of foreign affairs said the named parties must “stop political manipulation on Xinjiang-related issues, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs in any form and refrain from going further down the wrong path.”
“Otherwise, they will get their fingers burnt,” the ministry warned.
Trudeau signals continued cooperation with ‘international partners’ in wake of China sanctions
The sanctions from China come just five days after Canada imposed their own sanctions on China in coordination with the United States and the United Kingdom, over what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called “gross and systemic human rights violations in the Xinjiang region.”
In a statement posted to Twitter Saturday morning, Chong said we have a “duty to call out China for its crackdown in #HongKong & its genocide of Uyghurs.”
“We who live freely in democracies under the rule of law must speak for the voiceless,” he wrote. “If that means China sanctions me, I’ll wear it as a badge of honour.”
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Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said the Canadian MPs sanctioned by China have “used the freedom we enjoy as Canadians to call the world’s attention to the genocide against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.”
“I am proud of the work by MPs of all parties,” he wrote in a tweet.
In an interview with Global News, Lynnette Ong, a political science professor at the University of Toronto said the sanctions against Chong and the parliamentary committee shows Canada and China are at “a historical low point” in their bilateral relationship.
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“It’s just counterproductive.”
–With files from Global News’ Emerald Bensadoun and Reuters
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