Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is not surprised to see that China‘s ambassador directly linked the country’s arbitrary detention of two Canadians with the legal arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in a recent interview with Global News.
During a daily media briefing at Rideau Cottage, Trudeau was asked by the executive producer of Global’s The West Block about a recent interview on the program in which Chinese ambassador Cong Peiwu denied the country’s detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor is a case of hostage taking.
Cong then proceeded to directly raise the Meng case.
“We have seen Chinese officials linking those two cases from the very beginning,” Trudeau said when asked about that direct linkage.
“Canada has an independent judicial system that functions without interference or override by politicians … China doesn’t work quite the same way and doesn’t seem to understand that we do have an independent judiciary from political interference.”
Canadian authorities arrested Meng in December 2018 at the behest of American authorities, who are seeking her extradition on charges of skirting sanctions on Iran and stealing corporate secrets.
Days after Meng’s arrest, China detained Kovrig and Spavor.
The regime has since charged them with endangering national security but has denied them access to lawyers and recently cut off their access to consular visits, which they claim is because of the pandemic.
Meng, in contrast, is out on bail and living in her Vancouver mansion.
“There’s nothing like hostage taking. Those two Canadians are engaged in suspected crimes of endangering Chinese national security, so the competent Chinese authorities are handling the case according to law and I would like to tell you they are in good physical condition,” said Cong when asked about the fate of the two Michaels by The West Block‘s Mercedes Stephenson.
He then raised the case of Meng.
“But I would like to take this opportunity to point out that actually the biggest issue in our bilateral relationship is still Meng Wanzhou’s case, so that’s why we have made our position very clear to make sure that she’s back in China smoothly and safely.”
He refused to answer when asked twice why Kovrig and Spavor have not been allowed video consular calls, something Canadian officials have requested.
“Madam Meng should not be detained in Vancouver in the first place and the further two Canadian citizens, we are making sure that they receive all the treatments in accordance with law,” Cong said, adding that they and other detainees have been given “better food” to improve immunity.
“I think that my point is very clear. We want to make sure that the safety and health of those detainees are protected so as long as the situation gets better, we will resume these consular visits.”