Prime Minister Justin Trudeau slams China over detention of Canadian citizens

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a town hall at the University of Regina.
BRANDON HARDER  
Regina Leader-Post

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a town hall at the University of Regina. BRANDON HARDER Regina Leader-Post

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that Chinese officials are not respecting the diplomatic immunity of one of the Canadians detained in China last month as he ramped up efforts to get them released.

Kovrig is an analyst on northeast Asia for the International Crisis Group think tank who took a leave of absence from the Canadian government.

The Canadian duo's arrest on grounds of national security has largely been seen as China's retaliation for the Meng case.

The two Canadians were held last month after the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, in Vancouver on Dec 1, at the request of the U.S. which has accused her of violating Iranian sanctions.

Although Canada says China has made no specific link between the detentions and Meng's arrest, experts and former diplomats say they have no doubt Beijing is using the cases of the two men to pressure Ottawa. But Trudeau asserted that Friday.

According to Reuters, Trudeau told the reporters in the western Canadian city of Regina in Saskatchewan, "It is unfortunate that China has arbitrarily and unfairly detained two Canadian citizens".

He did not elaborate on why Kovrig is entitled to it. "Canada is a country of the rule of law". Canada arrested Meng after a request from the USA, with which it has an extradition treaty.

In a newspaper editorial published on Wednesday, Lu Shaye, China's ambassador to Ottawa, accused Canada of "double standards" which he said were caused by "western egotism and white supremacy". He said all countries need to respect the rule of law.

Ottawa has called for the Canadians' immediate release, a request backed by Australia, Britain, France, Germany, the European Union and the United States.