Everything About the Xi Jinping & Justin Trudeau ‘Heated’ Exchange


On Wednesday (16 November), a conversation between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was captured by Canadian broadcasters. The rare moment depicted Xi showing hints of annoyance and breaking composure. 

Ostensibly, what Xi said was friendly, due to the smile on his face. However, upon translation, it reveals to be not what you think.

The Conversation 

The video begins with Xi’s translator saying, “Everything we’ve discussed has been leaked to the papers and that is not appropriate.

“And that was not how the conversation was conducted,” the translator continued.

“If there was sincerity on your part, than we shall conduct our discussion with an attitude of mutual respect, otherwise there might be unpredictable consequences,” Xi tells Trudeau in Mandarin. The translator only gets to “If there was sincerity on your part,” before getting cut off by Trudeau.

“In Canada we believe in a free and open and frank dialogue. We will continue to work constructively together, but there will be things that we will disagree on,” said Trudeau.

On behalf of Xi, the translator said, “Let’s create the conditions first.” Xi then shakes Trudeau’s hand before walking away.

Xi’s public appearances are usually scripted and this instance isn’t one of them. He was viewed by the public to have a hint of aggression and dissatisfaction.

As he walked away, he muttered the words translating to “so naive”, but that wasn’t caught by the translator. 


What Were They Referring To?

The face-to-face talks between both leaders were the first in more than three years at this year’s Group of Twenty (G20) summit. 


In the summit, Trudeau had brought up “serious concerns” about alleged espionage and Chinese “interference” in Canadian elections. 

Basically, spying. 

According to Global News, a Canadian news site, China was reportedly behind “a campaign of foreign interference” in Canadian politics.

The campaign reportedly included “a clandestine network” of candidates in the 2019 election, a movement to place “agents into offices of MPs in order to influence policy,” an attempt to “co-opt and corrupt former Canadian officials to gain leverage in Ottawa” and a campaign to “punish Canadian politicians whom the People’s Republic of China views as threats to its interests.”

Real-life bond movie.

Prior to their discussion on Tuesday, confidentiality was agreed upon but Trudeau released the contents of their dialogue in the end, which annoyed Xi and the rest is history. 

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After their conversation, Trudeau said that “not every conversation is always going to be easy, but it’s extremely important that we continue to stand up for the things that are important for Canadians.

“Canada trusts its citizens with information about the conversations that we have in their name as a government,” Trudeau added.

Finally, he said that in China “there is not always the same openness that a democratic leader can and must have with his citizens.”


On the Chinese end, the Chinese ministry has said that the exchange was not a confrontation on Xi’s part. 

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning has said that “Beijing supports having frank exchanges as long as they are held on an equal basis, and China hopes Canada will take action to improve bilateral ties.

“This is very normal. I don’t think it should be interpreted as Chairman Xi criticizing or accusing anymore,” Mao added. 

Public’s Take

Everyone thinks that this incident was unchoreographed. 

But what if it in fact was?

Former Canadian Ambassador to China Guy Saint-Jacques thinks that Xi purposely berated Trudeau in front of the camera. 


“When you look at him, he is red in the face, he is moving his arms. He looks agitated. Clearly, he was not pleased with Trudeau for leaking to press the detail of the meeting. Interesting he said it’s not the way the meeting went,” Mr Saint-Jacques said. 

It was also noted that Xi was annoyed when his translation was cut off by Trudeau. 

“It’s very unusual to see Mr Xi Jinping engaging in this kind of public exercise to criticize someone,” Mr Saint-Jacques said.

On the Internet, a majority of the people are in support of China. They are in disapproval of Trudeau for breaching an agreement of confidentiality.

There were many jokes about how China schooled Canada, making Trudeau “look like a clown.”


However, there are still some who mock Xi for his inability to stay composed. 

You can watch the video here to draw your own conclusion:

History of Feuds

In recent years, China’s ties with Canada have been severely affected. 

In 2018, Canadian authorities arrested a top executive, Meng Wanzhou, from Huawei who had been charged with fraud by the US. A few days after the incident, China jailed two Canadians on the suspicion that they were spies. 

Only in 2021 were the detainees sent back to their respective countries. 

The best part? They were sent back on the same day. Petty. 

Their bickering has been deemed “hostage politics” by many countries, but China has reasoned that the charges against Huawei and Ms Meng were politically motivated attempts to hold back China’s economic and technological development.

Also, in May 2022, Canada banned China’s Huawei Technologies in building its country’s 5G infrastructure. This has spurred other nations to do the same as well. Nations such as the US, UK, and Australia have all explicitly banned Huawei technology from domestic telecom networks. 


Just this Monday (14 November), a Hydro-Québec employee has been charged by Canadian police with espionage after allegedly sending trade secrets to China. 

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Featured Image: YouTube (SNS News)