PARIS (AP) — France’s Foreign Ministry said it has summoned China’s ambassador over “unacceptable” comments in recent days that included alleged insults and threats toward lawmakers and a researcher.
Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian tweeted Monday that “comments of China’s Embassy and actions against elected officials, researchers and European diplomats are unacceptable.”
French authorities will “firmly reiterate the message” when meeting with Chinese Ambassador Lu Shaye, he added.
The Chinese Embassy in France called a Paris-based researcher, Antoine Bondaz, “a thug” on Twitter on Friday after Bondaz denounced China’s pressure on French lawmakers over an upcoming visit to Taiwan.
French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhl, said in a statement that the embassy is required to “strictly respect” the rules for diplomatic relations.
The Foreign Ministry also protested China’s decision announced Monday to sanction several European nationals, including a French member of the European Parliament, Raphael Glucksmann.
China said the sanctions, which targeted other European Union lawmakers, researchers and diplomats, were in retaliation for sanctions the EU imposed on senior Chinese officials over human rights abuses in China’s far western Xinjiang region.
“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,” the French ministry said.
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