China slams 'despicable' Canada for launching declaration against arbitrary detention

Beijing has hit out at "hypocritical and despicable" Canada for leading a coalition of 58 countries in a non-binding denunciation of state-sponsored arbitrary detention of foreign nationals for political purposes in China.

ANI | Ottawa | Updated: 16-02-2021 17:42 IST | Created: 16-02-2021 17:42 IST
China slams 'despicable' Canada for launching declaration against arbitrary detention
Chinese flag. Image Credit: ANI

Beijing has hit out at "hypocritical and despicable" Canada for leading a coalition of 58 countries in a non-binding denunciation of state-sponsored arbitrary detention of foreign nationals for political purposes in China. Ottawa on Monday launched a "declaration against arbitrary detention in state-to-state relations".

According to South China Morning Post, this comes as a part to ramp up pressure on China to free Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, detained in the Asian country for over two years. The initiative aims to "protect citizens of all countries who live, work and travel abroad" and is supported by 59 countries including Australia, France, Germany, Japan and Sweden, in addition to the US. The European Union and African countries like Malawi and Benin are also signatories.

Former diplomat Kovrig and businessman Spavor were detained soon after Canadian authorities arrested Huawei Technologies Co executive Meng Wanzhou on an extradition request by the US in December 2018. At the launch of the initiative, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the international community must "stand against" arbitrary detention as a bargaining chip in international relations.

"It's completely unacceptable. And it's already prohibited under international human rights conventions. But some countries still do it, and we as a global community have to stand against it," he said. "I urge more countries to join us in making it clear that arbitrary detention has absolutely no place in state-to-state relations. Human beings are not bargaining chips. This is a matter of human rights and the rule of law," he added.

The Chinese embassy in Canada released a statement on Tuesday criticising Ottawa for leading the initiative as part of its "megaphone diplomacy". "On the one hand, the Canadian side claims it upholds the rule of law and opposes arbitrary detention. On the other hand, it acts as an accomplice of the US, and helps the US to use Meng Wanzhou as a bargaining chip to oppress Chinese enterprises," it said.

"This kind of act is no different from a thief shouting to catch a thief. How hypocritical and despicable," he said. China has accused Kovrig and Spavor of spying and dismissed accusations the pair were detained in retaliation for Meng's arrest.

In its statement, the embassy said the Chinese authorities were handling both cases "independently according to law and their lawful rights have been guaranteed". "The Canadian side's attempt to pressure China by using "megaphone diplomacy" or ganging up is totally futile and will only head towards a dead end."

Britain, as this year's G7 chair, said the declaration "should not be seen as a single action" and should be discussed in platforms like the UN and G7 to "uphold international law" and "stand up for our shared values". British foreign secretary Dominic Raab said the practice of arbitrarily detaining individuals as leverage over another government was indefensible and Britain would not tolerate it.

"It's completely unacceptable. And it's already prohibited under international human rights conventions. But some countries still do it, and we as a global community have to stand against it," he said. "I urge more countries to join us in making it clear that arbitrary detention has absolutely no place in state-to-state relations. Human beings are not bargaining chips. This is a matter of human rights and the rule of law," he added. (ANI)

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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