French Minister Slams China’s Threats and Intimidation

France won’t tolerate “threats and intimidation” from China, France’s junior minister for European affairs Clement Beaune said on Tuesday.

“Neither France not Europe are doormats,” Beaune, a key aide of President Emmanuel Macron, in the latest sign of escalating tension between the two countries, said in an interview with France Info radio.

China’s ambassador in Paris didn’t show up after being summoned by France on Monday, citing “agenda reasons” in Paris, following what Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian described as “unacceptable” remarks and sanctions against individuals.

French Minister Slams China’s Threats and Intimidation

Beaune said he “didn’t believe much” that there was an “agenda issue.” “We are waiting for this convening to be honored.”

The harsher comments come after Beijing said it would sanction 10 individuals, including one French member of the European Parliament, and four European entities in response to the European Union’s sanctions against China over alleged human rights abuses on the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. The U.S., U.K. and Canada have also taken action.

France’s foreign affairs ministry on Monday said China’s decision, as well as multiple remarks by the Chinese embassy in Paris, were “unacceptable.”

In a series of tweets last week, the Chinese embassy in Paris had called Antoine Bondaz, a researcher at the Foundation for Strategic Research, an “ideological troll,” “crazy hyena” and a “little hoodlum.” It also called out French Parliamentarians for their plans to visit Taiwan.

“It’s not by attacking academic freedom, the freedom of expression and fundamental democratic freedoms that China will respond to the legitimate concerns of the European Union,” France’s foreign affairs ministry said in a statement.

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