Amid darkening relations, Lu off to the City of Light . . .
China’s ambassador to Canada, Lu Shaye, will be leaving his post this month. His new posting in Paris is being framed as a promotion for the hardline diplomat who famously accused Canada of “white supremacy” and “back stabbing” as Canada-China relations began to unravel last winter. The move comes as a surprise – Lu had given no indication of his departure during a flurry of recent interviews on topics that ranged from trade disputes to Canadian approvals of Chinese technologies.
Declining relations, increasing rhetoric . . .
The start of Lu’s posting in 2017 was a time of glowing optimism, with a potential Canada-China free trade agreement then in the works and the announced launch of the 2018 Canada-China Year of Tourism. But his final six months in Ottawa have been dominated by Canada’s national security concerns about Chinese tech giant Huawei, which he deemed “unfounded.” He warned the Canadian government in January to stop recruiting support against China over two Canadians detained by China’s government, which Canada asserts is retaliation over Canada’s detention of Huawei’s CFO.
Winter of discontent drags on into summer . . .
Canada-China relations are unlikely to thaw anytime soon. Especially since extradition hearing dates for Huawei’s CFO have yet to be scheduled and the U.S. Department of Justice is still holding firm to its 13 criminal charges, including conspiracy, fraud, and obstruction against Huawei and the CFO. Canada removed its ambassador to China, John McCallum, over the row five months ago and has not announced a replacement. With both ambassadorial posts currently vacant, the ability of both countries to maintain ongoing, high-level dialogue remains up in the air.