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Senators call on Trudeau to sanction Chinese officials over human rights violations

China detained Kovrig, Spavor in ‘political decision’ over Meng arrest, Trudeau says
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it is clear that China detained Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in an “obvious” attempt to put “political pressure” on Canada for the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. During a daily briefing with journalists about the coronavirus pandemic, Trudeau was asked about claims by China that he should “stop making irresponsible remarks” by linking China’s detentions of the two Canadians with the arrest of Meng in December 2018.

A group of senators is calling on the Liberal government to impose sanctions on Chinese officials over China’s treatment of its Muslim minority, its increasing restriction of freedoms in Hong Kong, and its arrests of two Canadians.

Read more: Feds could abandon Meng Wanzhou’s case now if they wanted to, ex-minister, lawyer say

The 12 senators are mostly Conservatives but some were appointed on the advice of Liberal prime ministers, including Justin Trudeau.

In a letter, they say China is “constantly and mercilessly perpetrating horrendous and utterly inhuman acts towards other groups.”

Read more: China claims Canada has ‘double standard’ interfering with Kovrig, Spavor cases

Canada has a law that lets the government target the personal finances of foreign officials responsible for violating human rights, freezing assets that are in Canada’s control and forbidding Canadian institutions to do business with them.

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The Liberals are also facing pressure from the other direction, with one senator pressing the government Tuesday to consider intervening to free Chinese high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou from an extradition process in Vancouver.

Can Canada end Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case?
Can Canada end Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case?

Trudeau has rejected that idea, saying Meng’s case will go on without interference from politicians even though two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, are imprisoned in China in what Canada sees as retaliation.