China Monday defended the actions of its ambassador to Malaysia after he was summoned to clarify his remarks criticizing extremism and racism ahead of a planned pro-Malay rally in the capital, Kuala Lumpur.
The Star newspaper quoted Huang as saying Friday that China opposes “any form of discrimination against races and any form of extremism.”
He was speaking ahead of a planned rally by a Malay-dominated, pro-government group that was reported to be demanding more Malay participation in the popular Petaling Street market, known as Chinatown.
The rally by ‘red shirts’ was, however, canceled on advice from the police.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Huang was visiting the Chinese community during the Mid-Autumn Festival, a traditional Chinese holiday that fell on Sunday, adding that it was a “normal” activity. Huang had made the comments on a visit to Petaling Street.
He said China did “not interfere in other countries’ domestic politics nor intervene in other countries’ internal affairs”.
“China and Malaysia are friendly neighbors, we hope that Malaysia can maintain national unity and stability and ethnic harmony,” Hong said at a daily news briefing.
Huang had a meeting with Malaysia’s acting Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin Monday.
The meeting, which lasted more than two hours, took place at Hamzah’s office at the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry.
Huang arrived at the office at 11.40 am, and left at 2 pm. He managed to avoid the press who was waiting for him at the ministry meeting by leaving through the basement.
A Wisma Putra official said it would issue a statement later.
Mostly Malay ‘red shirts’ took to the streets with 30,000 marchers in the middle of September to show support for Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is battling allegations of corruption and mismanagement at indebted state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
Critics said previous anti-government protests, led by a pro-democracy group called Bersih and which attracted many urban Chinese people, had insulted the country’s Malay leaders.