A Canadian reporter earned an angry rebuke from China’s Foreign Minister after he was asked about the country’s human rights record.
“Your question is full of prejudice against China and arrogance,” Wang Yi said, visibly angry, after iPolitics reporter Amanda Connolly asked about missing Hong Kong booksellers and Canadian Kevin Garratt, who has been charged with spying in China.
“Other people don’t know better than the Chinese people about the human rights condition in China and it is the Chinese people who are in the best situation, in the best position to have a say about China’s human rights situation,” he said.
‘Wildly absurd’ accusations
Earlier in the press conference, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion told reporters he had raised Garratt’s case with Wang.
The Canadian — who ran a cafe in the northeast China city of Dandong before his arrest in January — is accused of “accepting tasks from Canadian espionage agencies to gather intelligence in China,” according to the state-run Xinhua news agency.
Speaking to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post, Garratt’s son Simeon described the accusations as “wildly absurd.”
Asked about the case at a regular press conference in January, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Garratt’s “legal rights and interests will be fully guaranteed.”
Wang’s outburst came at the end of what he described as a positive trip to Canada, during which he met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau’s father, Pierre, established diplomatic relations with China when he was prime minister in 1970.
At the press conference, Wang said he believed Canada and China are headed for a “new Golden Age,” echoing statements made about the Sino-British relationship after President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UK last year.
That relationship-building trip was slightly undone this month, when footage emerged of the Queen saying Chinese officials were “very rude” during Xi’s visit.