Charles Burton, Associate Professor of Political Science and a former counsellor at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, wrote a piece recently published in the National Post about forgotten Canadian Huseyin Celil, who remains in a Chinese jail.
The arbitrary arrests in China of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig without charge have appalled Canadians and led to widespread demands that the government of Canada exert all pressure possible to achieve their release from Chinese custody.
That they are being held in a Chinese “black jail” at an undisclosed location and subject to brutal interrogation (reportedly including mistreatment that includes torture) is deeply troubling.
The reason for the detainment of Spavor and Kovrig is simply to pressure the government of Canada to release a Chinese national currently under house arrest in Vancouver pending an extradition order. It’s an outrage against Canada.
It’s also a gross violation of the universal principles of human rights and United Nations-defined norms of international behaviour that China pledged to uphold as part and parcel of the rules-based international order.
Canadians are rightly demanding that Canada makes the release of Kovrig and Spavor the No. 1 priority for our engagement with the Chinese regime. But another case involving an even more egregious violation of international law by China against Canada languishes largely forgotten.
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