OTTAWA, June 4 (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marked the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown in Beijing on Tuesday by expressing what he called “real concern” about China’s human rights record.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries have badly deteriorated since December when police in Vancouver detained Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. arrest warrant.
Trudeau said Canada continued to call on China to “respect human rights, to respect the right to protest, to respect freedom of expression” and stop its mass detention of Uighurs and other Muslims.
“We have real concerns about China’s behavior in regards to human rights and will continue to … call for better respect of human rights on this anniversary and every day going forward,” he told reporters in Vancouver.
Security in Tiananmen Square on Tuesday was tighter than usual. The anniversary of the crackdown, when Beijing sent troops and tanks to quell pro-democracy activists, is not spoken of openly in China.
Chinese authorities detained two Canadians shortly after Meng’s arrest and last month formally charged them with espionage. China also has cut off imports of key Canadian commodities in an effort to force Meng’s return.
“We deplore the arbitrary detention of Canadians and other political prisoners in China and we have made that point directly to the Chinese leadership,” said Trudeau.
The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa was not immediately available for comment.