China lashes out at Canada for signing declaration against arbitrary detention
China has lashed out against Canada for signing a declaration denouncing the arbitrary detention of foreign citizens, describing the move as a “despicable and hypocritical act” as relations between the two countries remain tense.
Earlier this week, Canada and 57 other nations, including the US, UK, Australia, Germany and Sweden, jointly signed a declaration condemning the use of arbitrary detention for political purposes.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, China’s foreign ministry said Beijing had conveyed its frustration to Ottawa over the joint statement.
“Canada colluded with some countries to issue a so-called declaration against arbitrary detention, and deliberately let the relevant people slander China’s arbitrary detention of Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor,” said spokesperson Hua Chunying.
While the joint statement made no mention of the men, Canada has tried for nearly two years to build global support for its campaign to secure the release of the two Canadian citizens jailed by China in 2018.
Kovrig and Spavor have both been charged with endangering national security, but Canada says China is conducting hostage diplomacy.
Canada has previously said it believes the arrests are in retaliation for the detention of Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou in December 2018. Meng is currently living in Vancouver while fighting extradition to the US on fraud charges.
“Canada’s so-called declaration looks more like a confession in which the Canadian side admits its mistake in the Meng Wanzhou case,” Hua said. “On the one hand, the Canadian side advocates that it adheres to the rule of law, but on the other hand, it acts as an accomplice of the US and arbitrarily detains Chinese citizens.”
While not mentioned in the declaration, China had previously called the document an “ill-considered attack designed to provoke” and warning that Canada’s efforts will “rebound in the worst possible way”.
Canada’s foreign minister, Marc Garneau, has called the document “country agnostic” and pushed back on the idea that it targets any particular nation.
“This illegal and immoral practice puts citizens of all countries at risk and it undermines the rule of law,” he said in a statement.