China’s ambassador to Canada, Lu Shaye, accused Canada of “Western egotism and white supremacy” in a Wednesday op-ed denouncing the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.
In his piece for the Ottawa Hill Times, Shaye accused Canada of having a “double standard” for holding Meng while demanding the release of Canadian citizens arrested by China.
Although he did not name them, Lu’s sneering dismissal of those who believe China is “bullying” their government by arresting “two Canadian citizens as retaliation for Canada’s detention of Meng” implies he was referring to former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor. The Canadian government recently stated 13 of its citizens have been detained in China since Meng’s arrest in Vancouver, with eight of them subsequently released.
Lu insisted Meng was unfairly arrested while changing planes in Vancouver even though she has “not been charged with any violation of Canadian law.”
The Chinese ambassador asserted all of the Canadians seized by China violated the law, conveniently ignoring the fact that Meng faces highly specific and well-documented charges in the United States, while China has offered nothing resembling due process, evidence, or even specific charges against Kovrig and Spavor.
Kovrig and Spavor have not been told what they are accused of, nor have they been given proper access to legal counsel. Spavor was imprisoned for a month before Canadian consular officials were given access to him. Kovrig’s employers at the International Crisis Group say they have not heard from him since he was arrested and do not know where he is being held.
Lu then launched into a long rant about how no one can accuse China of cyber espionage because other countries have cyber espionage programs too, perhaps temporarily forgetting that Meng is accused of financial fraud and violating U.S. sanctions on Iran, not hacking. He railed against a “handful of Western countries” for acting as if they “represent the whole international community,” building up to his big white supremacy finish:
The reason why some people are used to arrogantly adopting double standards is due to Western egotism and white supremacy. In such a 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.
When Canada’s Globe and Mail asked the office of Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland for comment on the Chinese ambassador’s op-ed, Freeland’s communications director responded:
We are deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of two Canadians last month and reiterate our call for their immediate release.
Canada remains closely engaged with partners, who have also spoken in support of these detained Canadians and the rule of law, including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the EU, the United States, and Australia.
Brock University Associate Professor Charles Burton, who has experience as a Canadian diplomat in China, was appalled by Lu’s op-ed. Noting the profound difference between Meng’s treatment and the way China tossed Spavor and Kovrig into a “black jail” with conditions that “fall very far short of international humanitarian standards,” he told the Globe and Mail the ambassador’s editorial outburst gave Canada reason to doubt that normal relations are possible with the Communist Chinese regime.