China has held two Canadians in prison, without charge or appropriate access to Canadian consular services, since Dec. 10, 2018.
They’re pawns in an escalating diplomatic and trade dispute between Canada and China – and it’s too easy to forget their innocent lives are at stake.
Acting under international law, and at the request of the United States, Canada detained Chinese national Meng Wanzhou on Dec. 1, 2018. She is wanted in the U.S. on multiple charges — including bank fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice — related to her work as Chief Financial Officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei.
Meng is currently under house arrest in her comfy $5 million luxury Vancouver mansion awaiting an extradition trial scheduled for January.
Ten days after Meng’s arrest, China arbitrarily detained two Canadian citizens in Beijing and has held them without trial, in dungeon-like conditions, ever since. Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are being held, for all intents and purposes, as hostages until China gets what it wants.
What China wants is for the Canadian government to set aside the rule of law and our independent judicial process to order the release of Meng.
Canada has rightly refused to do so.
For its part, Canada has done little to secure the release of Spavor and Kovrig. Prime Minister Trudeau has “stridently” objected to their captivity, he’s asked allies to bring up the subject in conversations with Chinese officials, and his minister of small business recently tweeted about how delicious the ice cream is in Beijing. Seriously.
Not surprisingly, the Chinese are unimpressed. The official spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry called Canada’s attempts to free the men “na?ve.”
Michael Spavor is a Canadian business consultant with a long history doing business in China and North Korea. He disappeared shortly after posting on social media Dec. 10, 2018, that he was heading to Seoul, South Korea. That same day, Chinese officials arrested Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat working with the International Crisis Group in Beijing.
Both men are innocent. They were simply in the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Kovrig and Spavor have reportedly been held in solitary confinement without access to the outdoors, under 24/7 illumination and subjected to hours of interrogation each day.
China must release them.
You can help!
The SUN will give up some of its editorial space daily as a reminder these Canadians are still being held by China. You can help:
— Call/email your MP – ask what they’re doing to bring these men home.
— Call China’s Embassy in Ottawa at: (613) 789-3434 – dial ‘0’ for the operator – and give them a piece of your mind.
— Avoid buying Chinese products – especially Huawei cell phones and devices.