Thread: #Canadians tortured while ‘red princess’ goes shopping - Taking hostages is an old ploy for resolving disputes in #China, yet retaliation over Huawei case has destroyed ties with #Canada…
Taking hostages is a time-honoured way of resolving disputes for the Chinese Communist Party regime, which fears the rule of law and an independent judiciary.
The CCP has taken this form of dispute resolution to a highly sophisticated and nuanced level which even foreigners who do believe in the rule of law and an independent judiciary can understand.
There is a profound difference in the implications of the kidnapping & holding hostage of Simon Cheng as he returned from Shenzhen to Hong Kong on August 8 & the kidnapping & holding hostage of the two Canadians Michael Kovrig & Michael Spavor.
They were both spirited away at the beginning of December last year. At any one time there are dozens if not scores of foreigners being detained in China because their local business partners claim illegality 7 have used influence with the local police & courts to make it stick.
The detained foreigners are usually ethnic Chinese who have emigrated to Australia, Canada, the United States, or elsewhere, and whose facility in China is seen as an asset to their companies.
Usually also, these emigrants are either foolish enough to use their old People’s Republic of China nationality documents to travel into China, or they have not taken the precaution of renouncing their Chinese citizenship.
In either case the result is that PRC officials insist the kidnappings are an entirely internal matter, and they refuse access to consular officials from the hostage’s new home.
Unlike the more common business hostage-taking, the detention two weeks ago of Simon Cheng, a locally engaged employee of the British Consulate in Hong Kong, as he returned to the territory after a day’s business over the border in Shenzen, was clearly a political kidnapping.
Cheng’s detention came after the United Kingdom government in London had expressed concerns about the violent police reaction to peaceful pro-reform demonstrations in Hong Kong, and a call for Beijing to stick to its promises made before the 1997 handover of sovereignty.
In the last few days Beijing’s international English language mouthpiece, Global Times, has reported that Cheng was detained “for soliciting prostitutes” during his one-day visit to Shenzhen on August 8.
There are several reasons to think this story is highly unlikely. Although it is true that prostitution is rife in Shenzhen and it is near impossible for any businessman to spend any time in the city without being propositioned, Cheng had a full agenda of business meetings.
More than that, most of the prostitutes in Shenzhen are managed by the local police, to whom the women pay protection money. If the police had wanted to pick Cheng up for consorting with prostitutes they didn’t have to wait until he was about to re-enter Hong Kong.
Yet he messaged his girlfriend from the high-speed train saying he was on his way home. This is interesting because the only Chinese immigration checkpoint on this line is in West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong. This means Cheng was detained in HK & taken back across the border.
In the context of the Hong Kong demonstrations against attempts to pass a bill enabling easy extradition of alleged criminals to China, there is a strong message here. With or without an extradition treaty with Hong Kong, Beijing is grabing people it wants to detain.
Canada has been confronting a similar message since last December when diplomat Michael Kovrig & businessman Michael Spavor were detained. They were picked up a few days after the December 1 detention of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei
Meng was detained on an extradition request by the United States Department of Justice, which alleges she lied to international banks in the process of trying to circumvent Washington’s sanctions against Iran.
The kidnapping of the two Michaels is a lesson in how passionate the CCP is in protecting its red princes and princesses. Not only have the two Michaels been held for nine months, and allowed only one visit a month by Canadian consular officials, they are also being tortured.
The two Michaels are being tortured by sleep deprivation and are being subjected to hours of interrogation every day. Both have now been charged with espionage and endangering the security of the People’s Republic of China.
Princess Meng, in contrast is only under nighttime house arrest at her Vancouver mansions. She seems to spend most days shopping. Her case is running the course of Canada’s independent judicial system, her team of crack lawyers arguing her plea for the extradition to be rejected.
In the meantime, the kidnapping of the two Michaels is the cause of widespread public anger in Canada. This is exacerbated by events in Hong Kong, where there are usually about 300,000 Canadian citizens living and working.
And in Canada there is a large and strong contingent of supporters of Hong Kong democracy among the 1.5 million Canadians of ethnic Chinese heritage.
Canadian business people are being cautious and refusing to go there for fear of being taken hostage. Many senior Canadian officials, especially those with any level of security clearance, have been instructed not to go to China, or even Hong Kong.
The situation is forcing Canadian political leaders of all parties to realise that their future policy towards China can never be as close as it was in the past. It will have to be based on a minimalist view of the benefits of the bilateral relationship.
So at some point, the CCP will have to judge whether the excessive defence of one Red Princess is worth the fallout. But for the moment nothing will change because the CCP knows acceptance of the rule of law would be the end of the one-party state.
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