Ottawa, October 16: China's Ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu has told Canada not to grant asylum to Hong Kong citizens fleeing since the imposition of national security law. Sputnik quoted the Ambassador as saying to the Canadian press on Thursday (local time), "We strongly urge the Canadian side not (to) grant so-called political asylum to those violent criminals in Hong Kong." Also Read | Donald Trump Terms COVID-19 Induced Lockdowns As Unconstitutional, Says 'As a President, I Cannot Be Locked in a Room and Do Nothing'.

He further said that Canada should not give asylum to these "violent criminals" as it is "interference in China's domestic affairs. And certainly, it will embolden those violent criminals." Also Read | California Wildfire: Thousands Face Power Cut in Northern California Due to Forest Fire.

Sputnik reported that though Canada has not publicly broached the idea but there is speculation that the ongoing diplomatic spat between Ottawa and Beijing could spur such action.

"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 (special administrative region), you should support those efforts to fight violent crimes," the Ambassador added.

Anti-government protests have been rocking Hong Kong since last year. The enactment of draconian national security law in Hong Kong in June to stop people from protesting has intensified the demonstrations.

The national security law imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong criminalises any act of secession (breaking away from China), subversion (undermining the power or authority of the central government), terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, with punishments of up to life in prison. It came into effect from July 1.

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