Close encounters of the Xi kind

China president for life Xi Jinping dressed down Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for leaking the contents of their informal conversation at the G-20 meeting in Bali. He instructs Trudeau not to behave in this manner — “otherwise the results would be hard to tell.”

What did Trudeau leak? According to a Canadian official with whom the Wall Street Journal spoke for its story on the encounter, “the pair [spoke] informally on Tuesday when Mr. Trudeau raised ‘serious concerns’ about interference activities in Canada that Ottawa alleges China has orchestrated. The prime minister had highlighted that concern publicly before the G-20. Some details of that Tuesday meeting were reported by Canadian media outlets traveling with the prime minister.” The video below accompanies the Journal story and is useful for the subtitles. It also all over Twitter (here, for example).

The Journal story includes this background:

The Wall Street Journal last month published a lengthy account of China-Canada-U.S. negotiations that in 2021 produced a prisoner swap that freed the Chinese executive and the Canadians. Among its revelations was how China had frozen out Canadian diplomats, though Mr. Trudeau managed to briefly speak with Mr. Xi at a G-20 meeting in 2019 after passing him a note. The story was based on interviews with current and former U.S., Canadian and Chinese officials, plus others and extensive documentation.

The story concludes on this Orwellian note:

On Thursday, Mr. Trudeau’s account appeared to be unsearchable on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform. While Mr. Trudeau’s Weibo account wasn’t deleted, search results for his verified social media handle came up empty. Searches of Mr. Trudeau’s last name in Chinese came back scattered with only posts shared by approved news sources and no posts from ordinary users were visible.

You have to wish what was once known as the free world were represented by statesman up to the task of dealing with China.

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