Several dozen protesters converged on the Chinese consulate in Vancouver on Saturday, calling for the release of two detained Canadians caught in a diplomatic standoff over Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.
Maninder Singh Gill with the Friends of Canada India Organization said Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig — who have been held in China for more than a year — must be released immediately.
Gill, who emigrated to Canada 42 years ago, said standing up for the men’s release was a matter of upholding Canadian values.
“China is bullying everyone worldwide,” said Gill.
“So we want to send a strong message to the Chinese government, that’s why we decided to protest in front of the Chinese (consulate).”
Gill said his group was motivated to speak out following a series of recent developments with China, including a deadly clash on the Indian border and a new security law in Hong Kong that criminalizes dissent.
“You can see in Hong Kong, every day people are protesting to save democracy, but China hates democracy,” he said.
Last month, China explicitly tied the release of the two Michaels, who have been held for more than 550 days, to Meng Wanzhou’s case.
China has accused the pair of stealing state secrets. They were formally charged in June.
Meng is being held under house arrest in Vancouver as she faces potential extradition to the U.S. on allegations she helped Huawei violate American sanctions against Iran.