Chinese Ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu said in an interview with Ottawa Life Magazine that Canadians should be careful with what they say about China.

“People should be careful with their comments. China is peaceful,” said Cong. 

“The fundamental principle in the relationship has been undermined by Canada. Mutual respect means we respect systems here and the choices of Canadians here, but Canadians do not respect the Chinese system. This does not work well.”

Cong’s latest comments follow a veiled threat he made in October allegedly targeting the safety of Canadians currently residing in Hong Kong. 

“We strongly urge the Canadian side not (to) grant so-called political asylum to those violent criminals in Hong Kong because it is the interference in China’s domestic affairs. And certainly, it will embolden those violent criminals,” Cong said at the time.

“So, if the Canadian side really cares about the stability and the prosperity in Hong Kong, and really cares about the good health and safety of those 300,000 Canadian passport-holders in Hong Kong, and the large number of Canadian companies operating in Hong Kong SAR, you should support those efforts to fight violent crimes.”

In response to the statement, Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole called for Cong’s immediate apology and removal from his post should he fail to make amends. 

“The Chinese Ambassador has decided to engage in belligerent rhetoric unbecoming of his office. To be clear, this was a threat to the 300,000 Canadians in Hong Kong. And a barely veiled one at that,” wrote O’Toole in an official statement on the matter. 

“Conservatives are therefore calling on the Ambassador to fully retract his remarks and issue a public apology. Should the Ambassador fail to do so expeditiously, we expect the government to withdraw his credentials.”

Since the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in 2019, China’s attitude towards Canada has become increasingly belligerent and aggressive. 

Currently, two Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig remain detained in Chinese prison cells after being arrested in retaliation to Meng’s extradition proceedings.