China’s ambassador to Canada warns the country will pay a price if it blocks Chinese telecom company Huawei from participating in its 5G internet network as its Five Eyes Allies, the United States, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand have already done.
Canada has delayed its decision on 5G out of concern for Kovrig and Spavor who were imprisoned in China for nearly three years in apparent retaliation for the RCMP’s arrest of Huawei executive of Meng Wanzhou on an American extradition warrant in December 2018.
China convicted Kovrig and Spavor of espionage in closed trials that were widely criticized by Canada and dozens of Western allies who rejected the charges against the men as trumped-up retaliation.
“The information reviewed by Chinese authorities shows that the evidence of the crimes is indisputable. And also, they have confessed to their crimes,” Cong said Friday to a small group of Canadian and Chinese reporters in an invitation-only video press conference.
A Chinese state-controlled newspaper, citing anonymous sources, first reported shortly after their release in September that the two men confessed, and also said they had been released on bail for medical reasons and had to “strictly abide” by conditions.
The initial report in the Global Times newspaper, widely viewed as an organ of the Chinese Communist Party, provided no further details.
“The two Canadians should strictly abide by the decision on bail made by relevant Chinese courts. In case of violation, China can resume, in accordance with law, the trial of the alleged criminal acts any time while on bail,” Cong said Friday when pressed for further details by The Canadian Press.
Cong was responding to remarks by Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly, who revived speculation about the matter during an interview with CBC’s “Power and Politics” on Wednesday.
“We want to make sure to continue to advocate their case, because there are certain issues that have not been settled yet,” Joly told the news program after meeting with Kovrig and Spavor.
When pressed by her interviewer to elaborate on the issues, she replied: “The two Michaels are on bail right now, according to the criminal law in China. And, so we want to make sure that we work that out with the Chinese government. It will be a priority.”
Global Affairs Canada had no immediate comment Friday on Cong’s remarks. Joly was in Liverpool, England for a G7 foreign ministers’ meeting, where China’s military provocations in the South China and against Taiwan were to be discussed.
Cong said China wants to move forward with a positive relationship with Canada, noting that their trade volume has risen despite the decline in diplomatic relations over the three years since the onset of the Meng-two Michaels affair.
He dismissed Canada’s decision this week to join a diplomatic boycott of the February Winter Olympics as political posturing that would not diminish the spectacle of sport that Beijing would be hosting.
In announcing the boycott. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau cited extensive human rights abuses by China, as did several western allies such as the United States, Britain and Australia that include crimes against its Muslim Uyghur population, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and military provocations towards Taiwan.
The Trudeau Liberals are expected to announce a decision soon on Huawei participation in its next-generation 5G internet network, and Cong made clear China will take a dim view of Canada if it follows its intelligence-sharing allies in the Five Eyes.
“Anything they do, we hope that it will be a positive momentum for the relationship, rather than those negative things that will be detrimental to the relationship. Of course, they will pay a price for their erroneous deeds and actions,” said Cong.