“My advice to all other countries in the world is that if you do business with China and you have citizens of your country in China and you have disagreements with them, your citizens may be detained,” Garneau said. CBC News Networks’ Power and politics Monday. Garneau said this will likely remain the case until China abandons the practice of arbitrary detention.
Earlier today, Canadian Michael Kovrig – who has been detained in China for more than two years on espionage charges – appeared in a Chinese courtroom for his one-day trial. His compatriot Michael Spavor had his one-day trial on Friday.
Garneau said that although no official from Canada or any other country was allowed to enter the courtroom during the proceedings, the Canadian government was told it would be able to visit the two men before the end of the month.
Kovrig and Spavor were detained in China on December 10, 2018 – nine days after Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, was arrested while changing planes in Vancouver.
Meng was detained on a US extradition request over allegations that she lied to a Hong Kong banker in August 2013 about Huawei control of a subsidiary accused of violating US sanctions against Iran .
The detention of the two Canadians is generally viewed as a retaliatory measure in response to Meng’s arrest.
Work with the United States to free Kovrig, Spavor
Diplomats from two dozen other Western countries were present outside the courtroom in Beijing today as Kovrig was led inside, but Canada’s Ambassador to China Dominic Barton no was not one of them.
A senior government official told CBC News on Monday that Barton is in Canada this week and is currently undergoing a 14-day quarantine period in Toronto. Barton arrived last week and his travel plans were made ahead of the announcement of trial dates for Kovrig and Spavor.
After his quarantine period is over, Barton will travel to Ottawa, where he will have a series of meetings with cabinet and staff on a broader strategy on how to deal with China.
Garneau said the meetings are such that they must be held face to face.
“There were a lot of diplomats today outside the Beijing courthouse, in fact, from 23 countries,” Garneau said. “This is another demonstration of how multilateral cooperation is starting to get the message across. ”
Canada today joined the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union in imposing sanctions on four senior Chinese officials suspected of being involved in a multi-year campaign of persecution against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang province, western China.
Sanctions freeze all assets of public servants in Canada. They also prohibit them from traveling to Canada and prevent Canadian citizens and businesses from providing them with financial services.
Canada also announced sanctions against the Public Security Bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a state security and law enforcement organization.
Garneau was asked if the federal government would consider similar sanctions related to China’s treatment of Kovrig and Spavor.
“We’re very engaged with the United States right now, and that is our goal,” Garneau said, noting that US President Joe Biden has told Canada he is proceeding as if the two Canadians are US citizens. .
“This is where we keep our eye on the ball for now. We have made our position clear to China. And the eyes of the world are watching China on arbitrary detentions as well as human rights violations. ”
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