Chinese authorities behind a major trade expo in Shanghai pulled an opening ceremony address by the European Council president that was set to criticize Russia’s “illegal war” in Ukraine and call for reduced EU trade dependency on China, diplomats said, Report informs, citing Reuters.
The pre-recorded video by Charles Michel was meant to be one of several from world leaders and heads of international organizations, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, at the opening of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) on Friday, three European diplomats told Reuters.
The diplomats, who cannot be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, told Reuters they were surprised that the speech had been removed.
“President Michel was invited to address 5th Hongqiao Forum/CIIE in Shanghai,” Barend Leyts, a spokesman for Michel, told Reuters. “As requested by the Chinese authorities, we had indeed provided a pre-recorded message which was ultimately not shown. We have addressed this through normal diplomatic channels.
Neither of the co-organizers of the expo, China’s commerce ministry, and the Shanghai city government responded to Reuters’ requests for comment. A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry denied awareness of the issue.