23:00 GMT28 February 2021
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    Wang Yi stridently rebuffed the questions of a Canadian journalist, after she asked Wang’s counterpart about Canada’s stance on the human rights record of China.

    Foreign Minister Wang scolded the journalist on Wednesday, during a joint news conference in Ottawa with the Chinese minister's Canadian counterpart Stephane Dion, calling the question, "full of prejudice and arrogance," and adding that, "this is totally unacceptable."

    China's President Xi Jinping (L) is welcomed by his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (R) during the opening ceremony of The Year of Chinese Tourism in Russia in Moscow
    © AFP 2021 / POOL / SERGEI ILNITSKY

    Wang's remarks came after the IPolitics journalist asked Canadian Foreign Minister Stephane Dion a question regarding Canada's relations with China.

    Speaking in front of the Chinese representative, the journalist asked  his Canadian counterpart Dion: "There's no shortage of concerns about China's treatment of human rights, including… detention of [Canadian citizen] Kevin Garratt, not to mention its territorial ambitions in South China Sea."

    "Given these concerns," the journalist continued, "why is Canada pursuing closer ties with China and how does [Canada] plan to use these relationships to improve human rights and security in the region?"

    Visibly insulted by the reporter's question, Wang asked the journalist whether she had been to China, and whether she knew that China "has written protection and promotion of human rights in its constitution?"

    "Do you know that China lifted more than 600 million people out of poverty?" he asked, adding that China recently became the world's second largest economy.

    "Other people don't know better than the Chinese people about the human rights condition in China," Wang stated, adding, "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."

    "So I would like to suggest to you that please don't ask questions in such an irresponsible manner," he said.

    The importance of Wang's visit to Canada, during which Canada seeks to improve relations by pursuing a deregulated-trade deal with the world's highest-populated country, was underscored by the Chinese foreign minister's meeting not only with his Canadian counterpart, but also with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

    The Canadian citizen mentioned by the journalist, Kevin Garratt, was detained in China in 2014 on espionage charges. Garratt ran a Christian-themed coffee shop near the Chinese-North Korean border. China claims Garratt has been formally charged.

    Earlier in 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping admitted the country had "room for improvement" on human rights, after being asked a similar question by a British journalist during a London visit.

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    Tags:
    Journalist, press conference, Free Trade Agreement, Stephane Dion, Wang Yi, China, Canada
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