Minority government forms new committee on China . . .
Canadian opposition parties voted 171 to 148 on Tuesday night to create a non-partisan special parliamentary committee on Canada-China relations. The new committee will be given a broad mandate to investigate Canada’s China policy, specifically “national security issues, diplomatic ties, economic issues and consular affairs.” The move is seen as a victory by advocates of a tougher stance on China who claim that the government has been kowtowing to Beijing and has not done enough to protect Canada’s overall interests vis-à-vis China.
Senators call for “principled” approach . . .
In addition to the formation of the new committee, two Canadian senators are planning to introduce a motion in the Senate calling for the Canadian government to take a “principled” approach in dealing with China. That approach would require the government to put the protection and promotion of human rights at the forefront of Canada’s China policy. The motion would, among other things, support using the Magnitsky Law to impose sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for violating human rights in Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang – an action the Chinese ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, said would be answered with “very firm countermeasures” by China.
Meanwhile, cases of the two Michaels sent to prosecutors . . .
As Ottawa debates its relationship with Beijing, Chinese authorities say they have handed the cases of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor over to prosecutors. After spending a year behind bars, this new step opens the possibility of moving the Canadians’ cases to trial. It is very concerning as it could be seen as ramping up the pressure in an already tense dynamic, as China reportedly convicts 99% of defendants. But it is important to remember the case of another Canadian, Kevin Garratt, who was imprisoned in China for two years on similar charges, but ultimately released. Garratt was found guilty of two counts of espionage in September 2016 but was deported back to Canada two days later.
- Toronto Star: No end in sight to the plight of the Two Michaels
- South China Morning Post: China hands over cases of detained Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig to prosecutors
- Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada: Canada-China relations since Meng Wanzhou’s arrest