Canada forbids consular officials from visiting China

Geng Shuang, spokesman for the Chinese MFA

Geng Shuang, spokesman for the Chinese MFA

Beijing responded today to Canada's decision to forbid Hong Kong consulate officials from visiting mainland China

'Only those with ulterior motives fear for their safety.' This is how Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang commented on Ottawa's decision to forbid officials stationed at its consulate in Hong Kong from visiting mainland China.

The decision came after an employee of the British consulate in Hong Kong was arrested on a public order violation charge during a visit to mainland China earlier this month.

At a press conference, Geng said that anyone who behaves 'honestly' in the country will have their rights guaranteed, but that people wishing to engage in illegal activities must be 'extremely cautious'.

Earlier this year, former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian businessman Michael Spavor were arrested in China, apparently as retaliation for the arrest of the Huawei Group's Chief Financial Officer Meng Wenzhou in Canada.

Geng Shuang described Meng's arrest as a 'political farce' and defended the arrest of the two Canadian citizens, ensuring that they are being treated 'in accordance with the law'.

Today, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that he considered the arrest of Kovrig and Spavor a 'mistake'. Pompeo stated that 'China has to honor its commitments to the world'.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Pompeo's comments 'distorted the facts', adding that Kovrig was arrested for 'stealing state secrets' and Spavor 'for gathering and selling state secrets to foreign powers'.