The foreign ministry of France has summoned China’s ambassador over several issues, including repeated threats and insults towards French lawmakers and a researcher. The Chinese embassy had called a Paris-based researcher Antoine Bondaz, “petite frappe”, which means little rascal or a thug in a tweet.
The Chinese Embassy had denounced Antoine Bondaz’s criticism of China’s pressure on French lawmakers over their upcoming visit to Taiwan.
Petite frappe pic.twitter.com/bJ4AQWep00— Ambassade de Chine en France (@AmbassadeChine) March 19, 2021
Jean-Yves Le Drian, Foreign Minister of France, wrote on Twitter, “The words of the Chinese Embassy in France and the actions against European elected officials, researchers and diplomats are inadmissible. He further said that he has requested the Chinese ambassador to be summoned to remind him firmly of these messages.
Dans nos relations avec la Chine, il n’y a pas de place pour les insultes et les tentatives d’intimidation contre des élus de la République et des chercheurs. Nous défendons ceux qui incarnent la liberté d’expression et la démocratie. Toujours et partout. https://t.co/L4dVphH8lw— Jean-Yves Le Drian (@JY_LeDrian) March 22, 2021
The French Foreign Ministry also protested against the decision made by China to sanction several European nationals, including Raphael Glucksmann, a member of the European Parliament. The ministry said, “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.”
Sanctions against Chinese officials
On March 22, The United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada imposed sanctions on Chinese officials. It was the first such coordinated Western action against China under the newly elected US President Joe Biden.
In a reply, China said that the sanctions were imposed as a retaliation to the sanctions imposed by the EU on senior Chinese officials on the pretext of human rights abuse in Xinjiang. The embassy also added that the EU sanctions were based on misinformation and lies. It claimed that the EU is interfering in the internal affairs of China. Further, the embassy said that the ambassador would go to the foreign ministry on March 23 to discuss the sanctions imposed on the EU and questions linked to Taiwan.
China’s mouthpiece Global Times defended the embassy over the derogatory comment
On March 22, in an op-ed, China’s mouthpiece news agency Global Times had defended the embassy over the derogatory tweet towards the researcher. It said that in China, people believe that they should never ask others to do something they don’t want, and Bondaz’s remarks would make anyone in China call him an “academic rascal”.
It further added that the continuous attack on China forced the Chinese embassy to respond. It said, “After facing so much nonsense, the Chinese Embassy responded in French on Twitter with “petite frappe,” which means “little rascal”, and then has been hit by more slanders and attacks.”