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Canadian family temporarily detained in China
Canadian family temporarily detained in China
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Canadian family temporarily detained in China 

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The strained relationship between China and Canada is continuing to further deteriorate, as a Canadian woman and her family were temporarily detained and intimidated while traveling through Beijing’s international airport.

According to a Global News report, “Ti-Anna Wang and her infant daughter and husband appear to be the latest reprisal against Canadians in a Chinese campaign to force Canada to allow a senior executive of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. to return home.”

Who is Ti-Anna Wang?

Bingzhang Wang, Ti-Anna’s father was one of the first Chinese citizens to study in Canada, but after having three children in Canada he returned to promoting democracy in China from abroad.

In 2002 Mr. Wang was kidnapped by Chinese agents while in Vietnam near the border and was sentenced and convicted in a trial based on “trumped-up charges of espionage and terrorism” which led to life imprisonment in solitary confinement according to lawyer Irwin Cotler.

The detainment of Ms. Wang and her family in the Beijing International Airport appears highly connected to the recent dispute and growing tensions between Canada and China, as Ti-Anna and her whole family were provided with visas before arriving.

The subsequent detainment, which included a refusal to allow Ms. Wang to change her baby’s diaper, all point to an intent to punish and intimidate.

Canada-China relationship in free fall

Ms. Wang’s troubling experience with Chinese officials is sadly only the latest example.

Since the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, China has arrested two Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, both of whom face up to four hours of questioning each day, have no access to a lawyer, and must keep their lights on at all times.

The Chinese ambassador also described Canada as a nation of “white supremacists,” while the country changed a 15-year prison sentence on drug changes to the death sentence for Canadian, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg.

Mr. Schellenberg was originally detained in 2014 and sentenced two years later to 15 years in prison, but an appeals court ordered a re-trial following Canada’s detention of Meng Wanzhou.

While these actions have put a serious strain on Canada-China relations, according to the Globe and Mails Campbell Clark, they have also begun to worry Ottawa’s allies, many of whom are beginning to have concerns about how the single-party state will act as a superpower.

This has led nations such as the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Australia, as well as the European Union to already declare their opposition to China’s intimidation tactics on the world stage.

The United States and Canada have even issued travel warnings, citing the potential for arbitrary arrests of foreign nationals in the nation.

What will happen going forward?

According to two of Canada’s former top-ranking officials, the dispute is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.

That means the two detained Canadians, along with any others in that time, could remain in Chinese detention for an extended duration.

Some politicians such as former NDP party leader Tom Mulcair have questioned the current extradition request, given President Donald Trump’s comments regarding the release of Wanzhou if a trade deal is reached between the United States and China.

While intriguing, Mr. Mulcair’s answer appears to ignore the stark contrast between how Canada and China have acted respectively.

Canada has received credible information linking Huawei to the breaking of international sanctions. In Canada, Wanzhou has had access to world class lawyers, and has lived comfortably under house arrest while her extradition request goes through the proper legal channels.

Canadians have been given near to no access to lawyers, been brutally interrogated for hours at a time, are technically being tortured, and in the worst case having their sentences changed – years after sentencing, just to threaten the life of a Canadian citizen.

With the Chinese government clearly laying out their willingness to intimidate and kill, Mr. Mulcair, an individual who once led a party clearly against the death penalty, might want to change his answer.

For the rest of us? We may just want to stay in Canada for the foreseeable future.

What do you think? Join the conversation by commenting below!

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