Ottawa concerned about Canadians in city

Top News | Reuters and James Yu 14 Aug 2019

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is worried about the unrest in Hong Kong, which has a large Canadian population, and urges Beijing to handle the protests with tact.

"We are extremely concerned about the situation in Hong Kong. We see the need for de-escalation of tensions, we need to see the local authorities listen to the very serious concerns brought forward by citizens," said Trudeau, whose country is locked in a trade and diplomatic dispute with Beijing.

"We are calling for peace, for order, for dialogue 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."

His comments were the most expansive yet by a senior Canadian official and comes after Beijing said the demonstrations have shown "sprouts of terrorism."

Trudeau said Ottawa is focused on the need to protect Canada's interests in Hong Kong, which is home to around 300,000 Canadian citizens. United Nations high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet urged Hong Kong authorities to exercise restraint and investigate evidence of its forces firing tear gas at protesters in ways banned by international law.

"Officials can be seen firing tear gas canisters into crowded, enclosed areas and directly at individual protesters on multiple occasions, creating a considerable risk of death or serious injury," Bachelet said.

Hong Kong's last British governor Chris Patten cautioned that if China intervened in Hong Kong it would be a catastrophe.

Patten said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson should ask US national security adviser John Bolton to get Washington to agree.

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, meanwhile, expressed strong indignation at the phone call by British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Friday.

"In this call Mr Raab attempted to pressure the government into setting up an independent commission of inquiry," it said.

"The DAB condemns Raab's call as another act of interference in Hong Kong and meddling with the internal affairs of China."

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