Lu Shaye, the ambassador of China to Canada, wrote an op-ed piece in the Ottawa-based Hill Times newspaper on January 9, Wednesday, accusing Canada of “Western egotism” and “white supremacy” in how it reacted to the detention of two Canadians in China after Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada on December 1, upon the United States’ request.
Canadian citizens businessman Michael Spavor and ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig have been detained in Canada on the grounds of “endangering China’s security,” a phrase often used in connection with espionage. The two men with limited access to Canadian authorities.
Many believe that the detention of Kovrig and Spavor was done as a retaliatory act against Meng’s arrest.
China has been asked by Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, to “immediately” release Spavor and Kovrig, claiming that the two men are being held “arbitrarily.” The Prime Minister also said that Canada had no choice in arresting Meng, because of its extradition treaty with the US.
Lu accused Canada of having double standards in demanding the release of its Spavor and Kovrig. Furthermore, the Chinese envoy took exception to “elites” and “some in the Canadian news media” for having claimed that the judicial system in China is less independent than that of Canada.
He wrote, “It’s understandable that these Canadians are concerned about their own citizens. But have they shown any concern or sympathy for Meng after she was illegally detained and deprived of freedom?
It seems that, to some people, only Canadian citizens shall be treated in a humanitarian manner and their freedom deemed valuable, while Chinese people do not deserve that. The reason why some people are used to arrogantly adopting double standards is due to Western egotism and white supremacy.”
Lu further said that in this context, “the rule of law is nothing but a tool for their political ends and a fig leaf for their practicing hegemony in the international arena. What they have been doing is not showing respect for the rule of law, but mocking and trampling the rule of law.”
Canada has asked the support of other nations such as the United States, Germany, France, the European Union, Australia, and the United Kingdom, to drum up support for Canada’s call to release the two Canadian citizens.
While Japan has also spoken up, it has taken a more subdued approach.
In his op-ed, the Chinese envoy asked if the countries who had spoken out against the arrest of the two Canadians “really represent the whole international community?”
Meng remains in her posh Vancouver residence but is required to wear an ankle bracelet and follow an 11 pm to 7 am curfew. On the other hand, a group of Canadian parliamentarians who visited China say that Kovrig and Spavor remain in “completely unacceptable” detention conditions and are denied access to their lawyers and have limited visits from their consul.