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Archive for France

Newsline: Paris bans George Floyd protest planned at US Embassy

French police have banned a demonstration planned to take place in front of the US Embassy in Paris on Saturday (Jun 6) as protests mount around the world over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The Paris police department said on Friday it had decided to ban the demonstrations because of the risks of social disorder and health dangers from large gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic. (https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/paris-bans-george-floyd-protest-planned-at-us-embassy-12809090) Trouble had broken out at another anti-police demonstration in the French capital on Wednesday. Thousands had turned up despite a police ban on the event in memory of Adama Traore, a 24-year old black Frenchman who died in a 2016 police operation which some have likened to Floyd’s death. Unrest has broken out across the United States after the killing of Floyd, a 46-year-old African American who died after a white policeman pinned his neck under a knee for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis on May 25.

Newsline: China embassy Twitter portrays US as bloodthirsty grim reaper

China’s embassy in Paris said Monday its Twitter account had been “falsified” after a tweet portraying the US as a bloodthirsty grim reaper sparked disquiet over the diplomatic mission’s conduct on social media. The embassy has already been under scrutiny for a sequence of provocative tweets during the coronavirus crisis, which resulted in the summons of the ambassador to the foreign ministry. Late Sunday, a tweet appeared on its account showing a picture of the grim reaper cloaked in a US flag and armed with a scythe going past doors marked Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine and Venezuela, all with blood pouring out of their thresholds. The grim reaper was now knocking on the next door marked Hong Kong with the caption “Who is Next?” “Clarification,” the embassy wrote in a pinned tweet after the controversial post was removed. “Someone falsified the official Chinese Embassy Twitter account by posting a cartoon entitled ‘Who is Next?’ The Embassy would like to condemn it and always abides by the principles of truthfulness, objectivity and rationality of information.” (https://www.deccanchronicle.com/technology/in-other-news/250520/china-embassy-twitter-portrays-us-as-bloodthirsty-grim-reaper-says-ac.html) It did not provide any details on how the alleged falsification had taken place, but its statement did not use the word “hacked.” The tweet was posted as tensions between Beijing and the United States spiral further as China moves to tighten control over Hong Kong.

Newsline: France accuses Venezuela of harassing Caracas embassy, summons envoy

France has summoned Venezuela’s envoy over accusations President Nicolas Maduro’s government has been harassing its embassy in Caracas, including by cutting water and electricity to the ambassador’s residence, diplomats said on Thursday. France is among dozens of nations which do not recognise Maduro’s disputed 2018 re-election and consider opposition leader Juan Guaido to be Venezuela’s rightful president. Maduro has previously accused French ambassador Romain Nadal of meddling in internal affairs, and diplomats say the services to his home in Caracas have been cut since the start of May. “France strongly condemns the measures taken in recent days, which hinder the normal functioning of our diplomatic mission in Caracas,” deputy foreign ministry spokesman Olivier Gauvin said in a statement, adding that the measures contravened the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. (https://www.france24.com/en/20200514-france-accuses-venezuela-of-harassing-caracas-embassy-summons-envoy) “French officials expect these measures to be rescinded without delay in order to restore normal operations at our diplomatic mission.”

Newsline: Chinese Embassy in France Mocks U.S. Coronavirus Response

The Chinese embassy in France released a video mocking the United States response to the novel coronavirus with a short animation entitled “Once Upon a Virus.” twitter.com/FY0svfEKc6 (@AmbassadeChine) The video purports that the U.S., represented in the video by a Statue of Liberty figurine, did not heed warnings from the Chinese government that the novel coronavirus was dangerous. When the figurine representing China reported “strange pneumonia cases,” a logo for the World Health Organization replies, “roger that.” When China then proclaims that it has “discovered a new virus,” the U.S. response is, “so what?” (https://www.newsweek.com/chinese-embassy-france-mocks-us-coronavirus-response-once-upon-virus-animated-video-1501321) The video goes on to say the U.S. called the temporary hospital built by the Chinese government “a concentration camp” and that the lockdown measures the communist country implemented was “barbaric” and “a violation of human rights.” Later on the video, the figurine representing China says the novel coronavirus was overwhelming its medical system, to which the U.S. responds “look how backward China is.” Then the figurine says, “the virus is killing doctors,” prompting the American figurine to respond, “typical third world.”

Newsline: Outraged French lawmakers demand answers on ‘fake’ Chinese embassy accusations

A diplomatic spat between France and China widened as members of the French Senate demanded answers at a hearing with the foreign minister as to why an article they said was fake and cast them in a bad light was still up on the Chinese embassy website. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-france-china/outraged-french-lawmakers-demand-answers-on-fake-chinese-embassy-accusations-idUSKCN21X30C) The French language article, entitled “Restoring distorted facts – Observations of a Chinese diplomat posted to Paris”, first appeared on Sunday, the latest in a series of posts and tweets by the embassy that has defended Beijing’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, while criticising the West’s handling of the outbreak. In the post, an unnamed diplomat suggests that careworkers in Western nursing homes – using the French term EHPAD – had abandoned their jobs, leaving residents to die. It came just days after France had raised its death toll substantially to include nursing homes. The diplomat also suggested that some 80 French lawmakers had co-signed a disparaging statement about World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and had accused Tedros, an Ethiopian, of pro-Chinese bias.

Newsline: France summons Chinese ambassador

France’s foreign minister summoned the Chinese envoy today the embassy published a second article on its website criticising Western handling of the coronavirus crisis. ‘I made clear my disapproval of certain recent comments when the ambassador… was summoned this morning,’ Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a ministry statement, adding that the remarks were not in line with the ‘quality of the bilateral relationship’ between the two countries. (https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8218887/France-summons-Chinese-ambassador-diplomat-controversial-Covid-19-comments.html) The latest comments on the embassy’s website, which in part suggested Western countries had left their pensioners to die in nursing homes, come after France ordered millions of masks from China to curb a shortage in the country.

Newsline: Germany, France, Switzerland close North Korea missions amid coronavirus concern

Germany, France and Switzerland closed their missions in North Korea and withdrew their staff on Monday amid growing concern in the isolated country about the spread of the coronavirus, the Russian embassy in Pyongyang said. The Russian embassy said a plane belonging to North Korea’s Air Koryo airline carrying 80 foreign diplomats, businessmen and relief workers left Pyongyang for the southeastern Russian city of Vladivostok. Among them were the “full composition” of officials from Germany, France and Switzerland, all of which temporarily suspended work in Pyongyang, the embassy said. Thirteen of its own employees and their family members, 35 relief workers and an unspecified number of businessmen also left. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-northkorea/germany-france-switzerland-close-north-korea-missions-amid-coronavirus-concern-idUSKBN20W0HL) The group includes “Polish, Romanian, Mongolian, Egyptian diplomats and their families who decided to wait out the quarantine in their homeland”, the embassy said on Facebook. Britain’s ambassador to North Korea, Colin Crooks, said earlier in the day that his German and French colleagues were leaving, though he did not specify why. “Sad to say farewell this morning to colleagues from German Embassy and French Office in North Korea which are closing temporarily,” Crooks said on Twitter. “British Embassy remains open.” Germany has an embassy in North Korea. France does not have formal diplomatic relations with North Korea but runs an office there to foster exchanges. Spokesmen for the French and German embassies in South Korea were not immediately available for comment.

Newsline: Equatorial Guinea says France illegally seized ’embassy’

Lawyers for Equatorial Guinea told United Nations judges Monday that French authorities illegally seized a mansion in Paris that the African nation insists operated as its embassy. The building was seized as part of a money laundering investigation into the son of the central African nation’s president. “France has submitted my country to treatment which is totally arbitrary, discriminatory, and consequently contrary to international law,” Carmelo Nvono-Nca, who led Equatorial Guinea’s legal team, told judges as public hearings in the case got underway. (https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/feb/17/equatorial-guinea-france-illegally-seized-embassy/) The International Court of Justice case is focused on the diplomatic status of a multimillion-euro (dollar) mansion on one of the French capital’s most prestigious streets, Avenue Foch.

Newsline: French consulate says citizens to be bused out of Wuhan to escape coronavirus

Foreign diplomats in Wuhan are scrambling to assess the situation in the coronavirus-plagued city, with French officials planning to evacuate French nationals trapped by the Chinese government’s lockdown. The plan would allow French people who want to leave Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, to travel by bus to Changsha in neighbouring Hunan province, according to an email seen by the South China Morning Post. “The consulate general, in collaboration with local authorities, plans to set up a bus service to allow French nationals … and their Chinese and foreign spouses and children to travel from Wuhan to Changsha,” it said. (https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3047653/french-citizens-be-bused-out-wuhan-escape-coronavirus-consulate) The email, sent by the French consulate, also asked anyone who received it to pass the notice on to other French nationals. It was not clear which bodies received the email and the date of the planned evacuation was not specified.

Newsline: Chinese embassy in Paris finds woman who ‘cheated’ Coronavirus checks

The Chinese embassy in Paris has tracked down a woman from Wuhan who said she took tablets to pass airport health checks. The woman boasted on social media that she had been suffering from a fever, but managed to reduce her symptoms with medicine. She later posted pictures showing herself dining at what she claimed was a Michelin-starred restaurant in Lyon. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-51231593) The embassy has now confirmed that her symptoms are under control. The woman left Wuhan – where the new coronavirus emerged late last year – before flights were suspended, but when thermal scanning was in place.