Chinese Envoy Summoned in France over Threats

France’s foreign ministry has summoned China’s ambassador over repeated insults and threats towards French lawmakers, a researcher and a decision by Beijing to sanction officials across the European Union.

“The words of the Chinese Embassy in France and the actions against European elected officials, researchers and diplomats are inadmissible,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yues Le Drian wrote on Twitter Monday. “I requested that the Chinese ambassador be summoned to remind him firmly of these messages.”

The United State, the European Union, Britain and Canada imposed sanctions upon Chinese officials on Monday over human rights concerns in Xinjiang, the first coordinated Western action against Beijing under the new Biden administration.

China’s ambassador, Lu Shaye, had already been summoned by the French foreign ministry last April over posts and tweets by the embassy defending Beijing’s response to the pandemic and criticizing the West’s methods of handling the outbreak.

The embassy tweeted that the ambassador would go to the foreign ministry on Tuesday to discuss EU sanctions and questions linked to Taiwan.

His embassy last week warned against French lawmakers meeting officials during an upcoming visit to self-ruled Taiwan, a sentiment that disgruntled many in France.

Earlier on Monday, the embassy came out against the EU sanctions, saying they were based on lies and misinformation.

The French foreign ministry said it would also summon the ambassador to protest the design by the Chinese Foreign Ministry to sanction several European nationals, including French Member of the European Parliament Raphaël Glucksmann.

“It is not by attacking academic freedom, freedom of expression and fundamental democratic freedoms that China will respond to the legitimate concerns of the European Union, nor that it will foster dialogue with 27 [countries in the EU],” ministry spokesperson Agnes von der Muhll told reporters.

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