Archive for ‘canada’

27/01/2019

Trudeau fires Canada’s ambassador to China amid Huawei controversy

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) shakes hands with former Immigration Minister John McCallumImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionJustin Trudeau (R) appointed John McCallum ambassador to China in 2017

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has fired Canada’s ambassador to China, John McCallum.

It follows controversial comments Mr McCallum made about an extradition case involving a senior executive from the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.

Mr Trudeau said in a statement he had asked John McCallum to step down, but did not offer a reason.

The detention of Meng Wanzhou, at the request of the US, angered China and soured Canada’s relations with Beijing.

Ms Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer, is accused by the US of evading sanctions on Iran. Both she and Huawei deny those allegations.

What did Justin Trudeau say?

In a statement, the Canadian prime minister said: “Last night I asked for and accepted John McCallum’s resignation as Canada’s ambassador to China.”

The veteran diplomat, Mr Trudeau added, had served Canadians honourably and with distinction with many positions in cabinet.

He also thanked the diplomat and his family for their service.

What about the ambassador’s remarks?

Mr McCallum caused controversy on Tuesday when he publicly argued that the US extradition request for Ms Meng was seriously flawed.

The next day he issued a statement saying that he “misspoke” and regretted that his comments had created “confusion”.

But on Friday he was quoted as saying it would be “great for Canada” if the US dropped the request.

Mr McCallum was appointed Canada’s ambassador to China in 2017, stepping down as the immigration minister.

Canadian media say he was eager to take over the posting because of his strong personal connection to China.

Mr McCallum’s wife is ethnically Chinese, and he had a large Chinese-Canadian population in his former constituency in Ontario.

Mr McCallum also served as Canada’s defence minister in 2002-03.

What’s the latest on Meng Wanzhou’s case?

She was arrested on 1 December in Canada’s western city of Vancouver at the request of the US.

She was later granted a C$10m (£5.7m; $7.6m) bail by a local court. But she is under surveillance 24 hours a day and must wear an electronic ankle tag.

Huawei's Meng WanzhouImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionMeng Wanzhou denies all the allegations against her

Earlier this month, US officials confirmed they planned to pursue the extradition of Ms Wanzhou.

Washington has 60 days to file a formal demand for extradition, a deadline that will be reached 30 January.

China’s foreign ministry has urged US officials to withdraw the arrest order and refrain from moving ahead with the extradition request.

Ms Meng’s case has led to rising diplomatic tensions between Canada and China.

Michael Spavor (L) and Michael Kovrig (composite image)Image copyrightAFP
Image captionCanadian nationals Michael Spavor (left) and Michael Kovrig have been put under “compulsory measures”

Earlier this month, a Canadian man was sentenced to death in China after a court said a jail term of 15 years was too lenient.

Two other Canadians – businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrg – were arrested following the detention of Ms Meng.

Some China analysts believe that the arrests were a tit-for-tat response to her detention, a claim Chinese officials have denied.

Source: The BBC

Advertisements
15/01/2019

Canadian’s death sentence in China ‘horrific’, family says

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg (centre) listens during his retrial in Dalian's court. Photo: 14 January 2019Image copyrightAFP/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionRobert Lloyd Schellenberg was sentenced to jail last year but had his case suddenly reviewed

The family of a Canadian man who has been sentenced to death in China say their “worst fears” have been realised.

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was given a 15-year jail term in November but, on Monday, a court said the sentence for drug smuggling was too lenient.

The ruling is likely to worsen a diplomatic row between the countries.

Last month, Canada arrested a top official at the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, on a request from the United States.

The detention of Ms Meng, 46, last month angered China and soured its relations with both Canada and the US.

Following Schellenberg’s death sentence, Canada has updated its travel advice for China, urging citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution due to the risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws”.

Schellenberg’s aunt, Lauri Nelson-Jones said the death sentence was “a horrific, unfortunate, heartbreaking situation”.

“It is our worst case fear confirmed,” she added. “It is rather unimaginable what he must be feeling and thinking.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the ruling.

“It is of extreme concern to us as a government, as it should be to all our international friends and allies, that China has chosen to begin to arbitrarily apply the death penalty,” he said in a statement.

China’s foreign ministry said it was “strongly dissatisfied” with Mr Trudeau’s remarks, and said Canada should respect China’s sovereignty.

Schellenberg has 10 days to launch an appeal and his lawyer told Reuters news agency that he would probably do so.

What is Schellenberg’s case about?

The Canadian, who is believed to be 36, was arrested in 2014 and accused of planning to smuggle almost 500lb (227kg) of methamphetamine from China to Australia.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison in November but, following an appeal, a high court in the north-eastern city of Dalian on Monday sentenced him to death.

The Dalian Intermediate People's CourtImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe court in north-eastern China where Schellenberg’s case was reviewed

“I am not a drug smuggler. I came to China as a tourist,” Schellenberg said just before the verdict was announced, the AFP news agency reports.

China is believed to execute more people annually than any other country, but is highly secretive about the number.

Human rights group Amnesty International puts the figure in the thousands – more than the rest of the world’s nations put together.

A number of foreigners have been executed for drug-related offenses in the past, including British man Akmal Shaikh, who was executed in 2009 despite claims he was mentally ill, and an appeal for clemency from the UK prime minister.

What’s the bigger picture?

Relations between China and Canada have deteriorated rapidly since the arrest of Ms Meng in Vancouver on 1 December.

She was granted bail by a Canadian court several days later but remains under constant surveillance and must wear an electronic ankle tag.

Ms Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei’s founder, is accused in the US of using a subsidiary of the company called Skycom to evade sanctions on Iran between 2009 and 2014.

She denies any wrongdoing and says she will contest the allegations.

Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. File photoImage copyrightREUTERS
Image captionMeng Wanzhou is the daughter of Huawei’s founder

In the weeks that followed her arrest China detained two other Canadian citizens.

Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor face accusations of harming national security.

China has denied the detention of the two men is tied to Ms Meng’s arrest, but many analysts believe it is a tit-for-tat action.

Donald Clarke, a specialist in Chinese law at George Washington University, said that Schellenberg’s death sentence appeared to be “an unprecedented step in China’s diplomacy”.

“I have seen cases I considered unjust before, but I cannot recall a previous case that looked so clearly unconnected to the defendant’s guilt or innocence,” Prof Clarke told the BBC’s Chinese service.

China began working hard to push Schellenberg’s case to international prominence, taking the highly unusual step of inviting foreign journalists into the court, the BBC’s John Sudworth in Beijing reports.

And despite the Canadian’s insistence that he is innocent, his retrial lasted just a day, with his death sentence being announced barely an hour after its conclusion, our correspondent says.

An editorial in the nationalist state-backed Chinese newspaper Global Timeson Tuesday said “unreasonable speculation” in Western media linking his case to Ms Meng’s showed “rude contempt toward Chinese law”.

“The trial will also send the message that China won’t yield to outside pressure in implementing its law,” it said.

However, back in December, the editor of the Global Times warned that China would “definitely take retaliatory measures against Canada” if Ms Meng were not released.

Hu Xijin said in a video posted on the Global Times website: “If Canada extradites Meng to the US, China’s revenge will be far worse than detaining a Canadian.”

03/01/2019

China says detained Canadians ‘without a doubt’ violated the law

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s top prosecutor said on Thursday that two Canadians detained after Canada arrested a Chinese technology company executive had “without a doubt” violated the law.

Authorities in Beijing had previously said the two men, Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat and an adviser with the International Crisis Group (ICG) think-tank, and businessman Michael Spavor, were suspected of endangering state security.

“Without a doubt, these two Canadian citizens in China violated our country’s laws and regulations, and are currently undergoing investigation according to procedure,” Zhang Jun, China’s prosecutor general, said.

Zhang said the investigation process had been handled “strictly” according to law when asked by Reuters at a briefing when the two men might be charged. He did not elaborate.

The two were detained after Canadian police arrested Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on Dec. 1 in Vancouver, at the request of the United States.

U.S. prosecutors have accused her of misleading banks about transactions linked to Iran, putting the banks at risk of violating sanctions.

The Chinese government has only given vague details about the detention of the two Canadians, and it has not drawn a direct link to Meng’s arrest. It has demanded that Canada free her and threatened unspecified consequences if it does not.

Canada has said several times it saw no explicit link between the arrest of Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, and the detentions of Kovrig and Spavor.

But Beijing-based Western diplomats and former Canadian diplomats have said they have no doubt the cases are linked.

Canada has said the detentions are unacceptable and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said China should free the men.

Under Chinese criminal procedure law, special forms of detention and interrogation can be used for state security suspects.

China touts the rule of law, but its judicial system is tightly controlled by the ruling Communist Party.

Rights groups say conditions in Chinese detention facilities are often basic and can be harsh, with lack of legal representation and due process compounding worries about treatment.

29/12/2018

Canadian detained in China has been released

MONTREAL (Reuters) – A Canadian citizen who was detained in China this month has returned to Canada after being released from custody, a Canadian government spokesman said on Friday.

The spokesman did not specify when the Canadian was released or returned to Canada. Earlier in the day, broadcaster CBC identified the citizen as Canadian teacher Sarah McIver.

China’s Foreign Ministry said this month that McIver was undergoing “administrative punishment” for working illegally.

McIver was the third Canadian to be detained by China following the Dec. 1 arrest in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd., but a Canadian official said there was no reason to believe that the woman’s detention was linked to the earlier arrests.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland did not mention the woman in calling for the release of the other two Canadians last week.

China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement sent to Reuters that it was aware of reports she had been released, and referred further questions to the “relevant authority”. It did not elaborate.

On Saturday, a Chinese court is hearing an appeal in the case of a Canadian citizen held on drugs charges, that could further test the tense relations between the two countries.

The high court in the city of Dalian in the northeastern province of Liaoning will hear the appeal of Robert Lloyd Schellenberg from 2 p.m. (0600 GMT), it said in a statement this week.

A Dalian government news portal said Schellenberg was a Canadian and that this was an appeal hearing after he was found by an earlier ruling to have smuggled “an enormous amount of drugs” into China.

Canada’s government said this week it had been following the case for several years and providing consular assistance, but could provide no other details, citing privacy concerns.

Drugs offences are usually punished severely in China.

China executed a Briton caught smuggling heroin in 2009, prompting a British outcry over what it said was the lack of any mental health assessment.

13/12/2018

Canadian Michael Spavor detained in China as Huawei row continues

Michael Spavor with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (2013)Image copyrightAFP
Image captionMr Spavor met North Korea’s Kim Jong-un during his 2013 visit to Pyongyang

A second Canadian has been detained in China on the same accusation of harming national security, as tension continues between the two countries.

It was confirmed on Thursday that Michael Spavor, a businessman, had been detained in addition to former diplomat Michael Kovrig.

Canada drew Chinese protests after it arrested an executive at telecoms giant Huawei at the request of the US.

Meng Wanzhou has been bailed but may face extradition for fraud.

She denies violating US sanctions on Iran through Huawei’s business dealings and China has threatened unspecified consequences if she is not released.

So high-profile is the case that US President Donald Trump has said he could intervene if it helps to avoid a further decline in US relations with China.

Who are the two Canadians?

Michael Spavor is a businessman based in Dandong, near the Chinese border with North Korea. He has deep ties to the North Korean government.

Ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig currently works for a think tank, the International Crisis Group (ICG), which has said it is concerned for his health and safety.

Presentational grey line

Timeline of events

1 December: Meng Wanzhou arrested in Canadian city of Vancouver at the request of the US as part of an inquiry into alleged sanctions-busting by her company Huawei

10 December: Canadian former diplomat Michael Kovrig arrested in Beijing “on suspicion of engaging in activities that harm China’s state security”

11 December: Meng Wanzhou released on bail but still faces the prospect of extradition to the US

12 December: China confirms the detention of businessman Michael Spavor for “activities that endanger China’s national security”, saying the investigation began on 10 December

Presentational grey line

He is being held officially “on suspicion of engaging in activities that harm China’s state security”.

Michael KovrigImage copyrightAFP
Image captionMichael Kovrig was working for a think tank that focuses on conflict reduction research

However, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, suggested another reason, saying the ICG had not been registered as a non-governmental organisation in China and therefore it was unlawful for its staff to work there.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland has said Mr Kovrig’s case was raised directly with Chinese officials.

Foreign ministry spokesman Guillaume Bérubé confirmed that Mr Spavor had contacted them earlier in the week because “he was being asked questions by Chinese authorities”.

Canada is working hard to determine Mr Spavor’s whereabouts, Mr Bérubé said.

Michael Spavor (L) in North Korea with former NBA star Dennis Rodman (right) (3 Sept 2013)Image copyrightAFP
Image captionMichael Spavor (left) helped arrange ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman’s trip to North Korea in 2013

China state media confirmed on Thursday that, as with the previous arrest, Mr Spavor was under investigation on suspicion of “engaging in activities that endanger China’s national security”.

Mr Spavor runs an organisation called Paektu Cultural Exchange, which organises business, culture and tourism trips to North Korea.

He is a regular visitor to North Korea and regularly comments in the media on Korean issues. He is particularly well known for helping to arrange the visit by former NBA star Dennis Rodman to North Korea in 2013.

Rodman is a personal friend of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

One of Mr Spavor’s last tweets, on Sunday, said he was about to travel to Seoul in South Korea, but he did not arrive on Monday as planned.

Why was Meng arrested?

The former Canadian resident was detained in Vancouver where she has family and property connections.

She was granted bail of C$10m (£6m; $7.4m) on Tuesday but could still be extradited to the US.

Court sketch of Meng Wanzhou during her bail hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 7 December 2018Image copyrightREUTERS

The US has been investigating Huawei, one of the world’s largest smartphone makers, since 2016, believing that it used a subsidiary to bring US manufacturing equipment and millions of dollars in transactions to Iran illegally.

The Supreme Court of British Columbia was told Ms Meng had used a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom to evade sanctions on Iran between 2009 and 2014.

She had allegedly misrepresented Skycom as being a separate company.

Ms Meng faces up to 30 years in prison in the US if found guilty of the charges, the Canadian court heard.

Are the arrests in China an act of retaliation?

After the detention of Mr Kovrig, Canada said there was no “explicit indication” of any link to the Meng case but China experts doubted that it was just a coincidence.

Guy Saint-Jacques, Canada’s former ambassador to China, told Canadian broadcaster CBC: “In China there are no coincidences… If they want to send you a message, they will send you a message.”

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Western diplomat in China told Reuters news agency: “This is a political kidnapping.”

Asked if the detention of the two Canadians was in response to Ms Meng’s arrest, China’s foreign ministry spokesman described it as an “operation taken by China’s relevant national security authorities in accordance with the laws”.

Lu Kang said Ms Meng’s arrest was “wrong practice”, adding: “I can point out that, since the Canadian government took the wrong action at the request of the US and took Meng Wanzhou into custody, many Chinese are wondering if their trips to Canada are safe.”

Related Topics

More on this story

  • Huawei: The life of Chinese tech heiress Meng Wanzhou
    11 December 2018
  • Canada is seeking consular access to ex-diplomat detained in China
    12 December 2018
  • Huawei arrest puts ‘bullseye’ on Apple
    11 December 2018

China

10/12/2018

Nanjing Massacre Victims Monument launched in Canada

CANADA-TORONTO-NANJING MASSACRE VICTIMS MONUMENT

People present flowers during the unveiling ceremony of the Nanjing Massacre Victims Monument at the Elgin Mills Cemetery in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, Dec. 9, 2018. In order to remember the history of World War II and to maintain a lasting peace in the world, peace-loving people officially launched the Nanjing Massacre Victims Monument in Ontario, Canada on Sunday. (Xinhua/Zou Zheng)

TORONTO, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) — In order to remember the history of World War II and to maintain a lasting peace in the world, peace-loving people officially launched the Nanjing Massacre Victims Monument in Ontario, Canada on Sunday.

Over one thousand representatives from all walks of life in Canada, including Han Tao, Consul General of China in Toronto, attended the launching ceremony in Richmond Hill of Great Toronto Area,

Setting up the Nanjing Massacre Victims Monument was launched by the Confederation of Toronto Chinese Canadian Organizations and Chinese Freemasons of Canada (Toronto).

The book-shape monument is to cover an area of 90 square meters. It is 3.72 meters high, 4.88 meters long, and 9.2 meters wide. It is made of black marble. It is a symbol of a black and heavy period of human history. It is already under process of production.

Lin Xinyong, president of the Confederation of Toronto Chinese Canadian Organizations told Xinhua on Sunday that the Nanjing Massacre is the eternal pain in the Chinese heart.

On Dec 13, 1937, the Japanese army bombed Nanjing and went on a murderous rampage through the city, then China’s capital. The Nanjing Massacre, or Rape of Nanjing, was an episode of mass murder and mass rape committed by Japanese troops against the residents of Nanjing.

That is the tragedy of Chinese and is also the humiliation of human beings. The Nanjing Massacre is being forgotten by more and more people, and the desperation of the victims of the massacre is even less likely to be felt by the people. Almost nobody realizes that such tragedy may come to oneself one day, Lin said.

Remembering history and praying for peace is engraved on the monument and engraved in our minds. The monument is meant to let more people to have a better understanding of the Japanese invaders’ atrocities against humanity and cherish peace, Li added.

Han Tao, Consul General of China in Toronto, told Xinhua the monument will help people of all backgrounds understand the tragic history of the Nanjing Massacre, value peace and safeguard justice, adding that it will also deepen the mutual understanding and friendship between China and Canada and contribute a stable, harmonious and prosperous world.

07/12/2018

China demands immediate release of Huawei CFO

BEIJING, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) — China has lodged solemn representations with Canada and the United States and demanded the immediate release of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Thursday.

Meng was provisionally detained by the Canadian Authorities on behalf of the United States of America, when she was transferring flights in Canada, Huawei said in a statement Thursday.

Spokesperson Geng Shuang told a daily news briefing that China has lodged solemn representations with the Canadian and U.S. sides, urging the two countries to clarify the reason they detained Meng, immediately release her and effectively protect her legitimate rights and interests.

Law of Unintended Consequences

continuously updated blog about China & India

ChiaHou's Book Reviews

continuously updated blog about China & India

What's wrong with the world; and its economy

continuously updated blog about China & India