A Chinese diplomat has dismissed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as a “boy” in a social media attack, a new low in a broken relationship between the two countries.
China and Canada have clashed repeatedly in recent months, and last week the two countries imposed sanctions on each other in Beijing’s growing row to treat their Uyghur minority.
But on Sunday, Trudeau was blamed for the diplomatic crisis in a tweet by China’s Consul General for insulting Rio de Janeiro, Li Yang.
“Boy, your greatest achievement is to ruin the friendly relations between China and Canada, and turn Canada into a dog walking America,” he tweeted.
The “Dogging Running Dog”, a relic of Maoist China, is often used to describe countries that are subject to countries such as the United States.
Lee’s Twitter feed often aimed at gun violence, the legacy of slavery in the United States, and the treatment of asylum seekers, but Trudeau was the only leader who chose diplomats to ridicule.
Because Chinese diplomacy is generally tightly controlled, Lee’s message carries a rare and “disturbing” mark from public statements by government officials, said David Mulroney, former ambassador to Canada, China.
“Lee’s tweet] is a tremendous failure in Chinese digital diplomacy and soft power,” Mulroney said. “It seems like someone has decided that it is okay to leave people on lease – or they are unable to keep them on lease. The first is annoying, the second is worrying.”
This outbreak led to Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, and their criticism of the treatment of Uygur Muslims in the Xinjiang region increased. Last week, a group of nations imposed sanctions on Chinese officials over human rights abuses.
In response, China slapped counter-sanctions on Canadian opposition MP Michael Chong, a staunch critic of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Chong later tweeted that he intended to “wear the restrictions as an honor”.
Canada’s foreign ministry also condemned the restrictions, calling them an “attack” on free expression.
Reducing the escalating tension is a more than two-year effort to release Canadian citizens Michael Kovig and Michael Spowers, who say Canadian officials are victims of Chinese “hostage diplomacy”.
Meanwhile, China has demanded the release of Huawei executive Meng Wenzhou, who was arrested in Vancouver on a US arrest warrant in 2018.
Both Kovil and Spore recently faced trial for espionage in Chinese courts. No verdict was given and closed-door trials were widely criticized by diplomats.
Meng is contesting his extradition to the United States, which appears ready to pull over in the summer.
Experts say that China has become very desperate about its detention and is willing to take stern action to secure its release.
In addition to attacking Trudeau, Lee used Twitter to attack the independence of Canada’s judiciary and called for Ottawa to honor his extradition request and arrest a “dirty thing” to the telecommunications executive, stating That Canada – not China – was a “hostage taker”.