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France’s foreign ministry to summon Chinese envoy over threats, insults

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France’s foreign ministry has summoned China’s ambassador over repeated insults and threats aimed at French lawmakers and a researcher, its spokeswoman said on Monday.

“After the multiplication of unacceptable comments made publicly by the Chinese Embassy in recent days, including in the form of insults and threats against parliamentarians and a French researcher, we recall the elementary rules enshrined by the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations relating to the functioning of a foreign embassy, in particular with regard to its public communication,” Agnes von der Muhll told reporters in a daily briefing.

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“The Embassy is urged to strictly adhere to them.”

China’s ambassador Lu Shaye had already been summoned by the foreign ministry last April over posts and tweets by the embassy defending Beijing’s response to the pandemic and criticizing the West’s handling of the outbreak. He is due at the foreign ministry on Tuesday.

His embassy last week warned against French lawmakers meeting officials during an upcoming visit to self-ruled Taiwan, drawing a rebuff from France’s foreign ministry..

Since then it has been in a Twitter face-off with Antoine Bondaz, a China expert at the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research, in which the embassy described him as a “small-time thug”.

The ministry said it was also summoning the ambassador to protest the decision by the Chinese Foreign Ministry to sanction several European nationals, including members of the European Parliament and national parliaments, and in particular French MEP Raphaël Glucksmann, researchers and diplomats.

“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 dialog with the 27,” von der Muhll said.

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