Canada-China Crisis

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TEICH: Michael Spavor's sham trial in China is classic hostage diplomacy
Author of the article:Special to Toronto Sun
Publishing date:Mar 20, 2021 • 8 hours ago • 3 minute read • comment bubbleJoin the conversation
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is out on bail in Vancouver living a life of luxury and enjoying holiday visits from family amid the pandemic while Canada's Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor remain hostages imprisoned in China.
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is out on bail in Vancouver living a life of luxury and enjoying holiday visits from family amid the pandemic while Canada's Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor remain hostages imprisoned in China. PHOTO BY DON MACKINNON /AFP via Getty Images
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By SARAH TEICH

The sham trial of Michael Spavor, the Canadian consultant who has been held hostage by China for over two years, concluded Friday.


Canadian representatives were barred from attending and the entire trial was held behind closed doors. It reportedly lasted a mere two hours, in which Spavor was ostensibly tried for espionage.

Michael Kovrig’s trial, also for espionage, is upcoming.

Spavor’s trial was a sham, and Kovrig’s will be too.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has made clear that Spavor and Kovrig are being held as hostages, in retaliation for the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, and not because they are actually believed to be Canadian spies. The CCP has made clear that if Canada were to release Meng, that would bode well for the fates of Spavor and Kovrig.

It is classic hostage diplomacy.

The use of sham trials is the CCP trying to provide a veneer of legitimacy to these arbitrary detentions. But a trial cannot provide legitimacy when the accused person is denied their rights to be heard and to have representation, when the trial is held in secret, and when the outcome is predetermined.

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The comparison between the cases of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and the case of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou seems to hold little water — at least in terms of due process and legal rights.
Suddenly announced trials for Two Michaels a due-process contrast to Meng Wanzhou extradition
A police vehicle believed to be carrying Michael Spavor arrives at Intermediate People's Court, where Spavor was to stand trial, in Dandong, Liaoning province, China March 19, 2021.
Trudeau denounces 'lack of transparency' as China tries Michael Spavor on spy charges

Spavor’s secret trial is not the first time the CCP has used sham trials in this manner, nor is this a phenomenon that is exclusive to China. Rather, sham trials are broadly used by authoritarian regimes in cases where people are detained arbitrarily or as hostages for political gain.

Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a former hostage of the Iranian regime, described her legal proceedings in Iran as a “kangaroo court.”

Dr. Wang Bingzhang, a former Canadian student who has been languishing in Chinese prison for almost twenty years, was also convicted of espionage in a sham trial where he was denied the right to be heard and the right to legal counsel. Like Spavor’s, Wang’s trial was held in secret, and it lasted for less than one day. He has been held in solitary confinement ever since, which is a grave breach of numerous international laws in its own right.

These are just a few examples — there are many more.

These attempts to provide legitimacy to arbitrary detentions fall flat. Spavor is not a spy, any more than Moore-Gilbert and Wang are spies. Spavor is a Canadian consultant who had the bad luck of being present in mainland China shortly after Meng was arrested in Vancouver.


Moore-Gilbert is an academic who had the bad luck of being present in Iran for an academic conference, the bad luck of holding both British and Australian citizenships, and the bad luck of having an Israeli husband back home in Australia. Bingzhang is a pro-democracy activist for a country that regularly imprisons people for such beliefs.

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Spavor and Kovrig have reportedly been held in solitary confinement cells with the lights on 24 hours a day. Bingzhang has been held in solitary confinement for almost twenty years. Moore-Gilbert was held in horrendous conditions as well, in facilities infamously known as some of the world’s worst prisons for women.

We must not be distracted by sham trials into forgetting or discounting this inhumane and illegal treatment. The international community must not be fooled by these sham trials, and must not be fooled into thinking that these detentions are legitimate or legal. Trials are not real or legitimate if the outcomes are predetermined.

Nor must the international community be distracted by these trials and forget the real issues. The real issues are that Canadians have been arbitrarily detained by the CCP for years now, they are held in horrendous conditions in breach of many of their rights, and the Canadian government has not done enough to bring them home.

— Sarah Teich is an international human rights lawyer, a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, and a legal advisor to the Canadian Security Research Group
 

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Michael Kovrig's espionage trial in China ends, verdict due later
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Publishing date:Mar 22, 2021 • 3 hours ago • 3 minute read • comment bubble32 Comments
Michael Kovrig
Michael Kovrig PHOTO BY JULIE DAVID DE LOSSY /AFP/Getty Images
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BEIJING — The trial of Canadian Michael Kovrig, who has been held in China for more than two years on espionage charges, wrapped up in a closed Beijing courtroom on Monday with the verdict to be announced at an unspecified later date, according to state media.

China arrested Kovrig, a former diplomat, and fellow Canadian Michael Spavor in December 2018, soon after Canadian police detained Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese tech company Huawei Technologies, on a U.S. warrant.


Beijing insists the detentions are not linked to the detention of Meng, who remains under house arrest in Vancouver as she fights extradition to the United States. Beijing has repeatedly called on Ottawa to release her.

She has been fighting the extradition request, and those hearings are expected to wrap up in May in the British Columbia Supreme Court.

The Kovrig trial came just days after the United States raised concerns over the cases at tense talks with China in Alaska. On Monday, Canadian and other diplomats were denied access to the hearing.

William Klein, charge d’affaires of the U.S. embassy in China, told reporters outside the courthouse as he stood beside his Canadian counterpart that the United States would treat the cases of the two men “as if they were American citizens.”

Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau said “the eyes of the world are on these cases” and thanked international partners for their support.

In a show of solidarity, 28 diplomats from 26 countries, including the United States, Britain, Germany, Australia, Netherlands and Czech Republic, turned up outside the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate Court on Monday, where there was a heavy police presence.

“We are deeply troubled by the total lack of transparency surrounding these hearings and we continue to work towards an immediate end to their arbitrary detention,” Garneau said in a statement.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also tweeted his support for Kovrig’s release.

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China’s state media outlet CCTV reported that Kovrig and his lawyer were in court and that the verdict, like the one for Spavor, who was tried on Friday, would be announced at a later date.

“We’ve requested access to Michael Kovrig’s hearing repeatedly but that access is being denied” for national security reasons, Jim Nickel, charge d’affaires of the Canadian embassy in China, told reporters outside the Beijing court. “Now we see that the court process itself is not transparent. We’re very troubled by this.”

Jim Nickel, charge d’affaires of the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, talks to the media outside Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court after a trial of Michael Kovrig, a Canadian detained by China in December 2018 on suspicion of espionage, in Beijing, China March 22, 2021.
Jim Nickel, charge d’affaires of the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, talks to the media outside Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People’s Court after a trial of Michael Kovrig, a Canadian detained by China in December 2018 on suspicion of espionage, in Beijing, China March 22, 2021. PHOTO BY CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS /REUTERS
Nickel said Canada would protest the lack of access to China’s foreign ministry.

‘SOLIDARITY’

“We are here to show solidarity. Arbitrary detention is not the way,” a diplomat told Reuters, declining to be named as she was not authorized to speak on the record about the trial.


The Canadian side had assembled a group of diplomats to “point fingers” and was “wantonly interfering in China’s judicial sovereignty,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying.

Some diplomats took off their face masks as they posed for a group photo outside the court, with each shouting out which country they represented to help reporters identify them.

On Friday, Spavor, a businessman, also stood trial in a closed courtroom in the northeastern city of Dandong.

Separately on Monday, the European Union imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials for human rights abuses in Xinjiang, to which Beijing responded with its own sanctions on Europeans.

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Canada, the United States and the U.K. imposed similar sanctions later in the day, with Canada saying there was mounting evidence of “systemic, state-led human rights violations” in Xinjiang.

Amid the wave of diplomatic activity, observers have said the likely convictions of the two men could ultimately facilitate an agreement in which they are released and sent back to Canada.

Chinese courts have a conviction rate of over 99%.

“Michael and Michael Spavor are innocent Canadians caught up in a bigger geopolitical dispute,” Kovrig’s wife, Vina Nadjibulla, told Reuters.

“Their detention is profoundly unjust and our focus must remain on securing their freedom.”
 

petros

The Central Scrutinizer
Nov 21, 2008
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Moccasin Flats
Most is spent on Liberal bureaucrats in Ottawant .
Liberals who want to disarm Canadians.

It's all good tho. I'm sure Trudeau has a coolie hat, a can of tan Kiwi and 50 RMB for an application to join "The Party" to greet them and welcome them to their new colony.
 
  • Wow
Reactions: Twin_Moose

spaminator

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China sanctions MP Michael Chong, federal subcommittee
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Publishing date:Mar 27, 2021 • 4 hours ago • 2 minute read • 8 Comments
Conservative Party Leadership candidate Michael Chong, addresses crowd at the Conservative Party of Canada's final televised debate in Toronto, Ontario, April 26, 2017.
Conservative Party Leadership candidate Michael Chong, addresses crowd at the Conservative Party of Canada's final televised debate in Toronto, Ontario, April 26, 2017. PHOTO BY FRED THORNHILL /REUTERS
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China’s decision to sanction a Conservative MP as well as a Parliamentary subcommittee is an attack on freedom of speech regarding human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday.

“China’s sanctions are an attack on transparency and freedom of expression — values at the heart of our democracy,” Trudeau said on Twitter.


Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau called China’s actions against Tory MP Michael Chong and on the subcommittee on international human rights “unacceptable.”

“The Government of Canada stands with parliamentarians and all Canadians as we continue to work with partners in defence of democracy and freedom of speech and will continue to take action when international human rights obligations are violated,” Garneau said in a statement.

Earlier on Saturday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China said in a news release it has banned Chong from entering the country and prohibited any Chinese citizen from doing business with him. The sanctions also targeted the federal subcommittee on which Chong sits, which is studying the situation of the Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in China’s Xinjiang region.

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China said its actions were in response to sanctions levied by Canada on Chinese officials regarding the situation in Xinjiang.

“The Chinese government is firmly determined to safeguard its national sovereignty, security and development interests, and urges the relevant parties to clearly understand the situation and redress their mistakes,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.

“They must stop political manipulation on Xinjiang-related issues, stop interfering in China’s internal affairs in any form and refrain from going further down the wrong path. Otherwise, they will get their fingers burnt.”


Canada joined other countries on Monday in imposing sanctions against four Chinese officials and a Chinese entity. Global Affairs Canada said mounting evidence points to state-led abuses by Chinese authorities against more than one million Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities on the basis of their religion and ethnicity. The department said the abuses include “political re-education, forced labour, torture and forced sterilization.”

Trudeau said Monday the sanctions were imposed on China over “the gross and systematic human rights abuses taking place in the region.”


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Chong, the Tories’ foreign affairs critic, said Saturday he has a duty to call out China’s “genocide” of Uyghur Muslims. “We who live freely in democracies under the rule of law must speak for the voiceless,” Chong said on Twitter.

“If that means China sanctions me, I’ll wear it as a badge of honour.”


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China also said Saturday it imposed sanctions against the chair and vice chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedoms.
 

spaminator

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Beware of corrupt business practices in China, Canadians are told
Author of the article:postmedia News
Publishing date:Apr 14, 2021 • 3 hours ago • 1 minute read • 24 Comments
The Chinese national flag is seen in Beijing.
The Chinese national flag is seen in Beijing. PHOTO BY THOMAS PETER /REUTERS
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Canadians doing overseas business in China are being warned by the Trade Commissioner Service to beware of corrupt business practices.

The Dangers Of Engaging In Corrupt Practices — a federal guide for Canadian investors — warns of Communist Party fronts, extortion, bid-rigging and “bribery required to get things done,” according to Blacklock’s Reporter.


“Companies doing business in China are more susceptible to certain risks, including fraudulent reporting, misappropriation of assets, and lack of management integrity,” said the guide.

“Commercial bribery can include bribing client staff. Bribery can include routine gifts, entertainment, and banquets required to establish or maintain ‘guanxi’ or ‘relationships.’”

The guide further warns: “There are instances where foreign companies may not be aware they or their local associates are guilty of misconduct. Beware of the implications of third-party conduct as your company could be liable.”

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Canadians should also be aware of theft or outright extortion by Chinese employees, according to the guide.

“For example, employees might threaten the company, ‘If you don’t give me a raise I’ll steal your intellectual property and sell it to the competitor,’” it says.

The Trade Commissioner Service says whistleblower hotlines are recommended, but companies should look into all confidential reports of any wrongdoing.

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“Please note it is important to verify the veracity of whistleblowers’ complaints to maintain the integrity of the system,” said the guide.

“A further system may be put in place to punish whistleblowers who intentionally or maliciously make false reports.”