On February 15, Canada initiated the “Declaration against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations.” It stated, “The arbitrary arrest or detention of foreign nationals to compel action or to exercise leverage over a foreign government is contrary to international law, undermines international relations, and has a negative impact on foreign nationals traveling, working and living abroad.” The Declaration received international support from 58 countries including U.S., Japan, U.K., Australia and almost all of the EU members.
Although the declaration did not indicate which country it was aimed at, it immediately resulted in a strong reaction from China. The spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Canada said on Tuesday February 16 that China expresses strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to the declaration and has lodged solemn representations with Canada. China also mentioned the arrest of Meng Wanzhou and criticized Canada saying, “This kind of act is no different from a thief shouting to catch a thief. How hypocritical and despicable!” China once again urged Canada to “reflect on its wrongdoing, release Meng immediately, make sure she can return to China safely, and stop creating new obstacles to bilateral relations in any form.” The spokesperson also emphasized that “China is a country under the rule of law.” Two Canadian citizens, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, were “arrested and prosecuted by competent authorities of China in accordance with the law for the suspected crimes of undermining China’s national security.”
The U.S. State Department last week called on China to release the two arrested Canadian citizens and rejected China for “using coercion as a political tool.” In a telephone call earlier this month with Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris “expressed strong solidarity” with Canada for the detention of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, the two Canadian citizens arbitrarily detained in China in 2018. She spoke with Trudeau, and made it clear that the U.S. will continue to do everything in its power to secure their release.
Source: Radio Free Asia, February 17, 2021,