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Liberals and Conservatives have stumbled into a thorny debate over fears that criticism of China can bleed into bigotry, as wariness of the global superpower rises alongside incidents of anti-Asian racism in Canada. Tory MPs asked Justin Trudeau last week to respond to reports that scientists at a Winnipeg infectious-diseases laboratory had been collaborating with Chinese military researchers. “Communist China cannot be trusted,” Conservative deputy leader Candice Bergen said during question period in the House of Commons on May 26. “Will the prime minister commit to ending this research and this co-operation with the regime that actually wants to hurt Canada?” Trudeau replied by warning Conservative lawmakers against wading into intolerance.

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