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Canadians released in China – Chinese under house arrest left Canada

The deal was named internationally early on as an example of Chinese “hostage diplomacy”. why?

Because China appeared to be taking a head-to-head action in an escalating diplomatic dispute with Canada.

What happened is that Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, daughter of Ren Zhengfei, the billionaire who founded the telecom giant, was arrested during a layover in Canada in December 2018. The United States has ordered her extradition. She was accused of misleading a bank about Huawei’s business in Iran.

Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the billionaire who founded Huawei, was released in Canada after she reportedly reached a deal with US prosecutors who tried to bring her to justice.

Photo: Darryl Dyck/TT

A few days later, Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were arrested in China on charges of espionage. Beijing denied this was retaliation, without the issues being “different in nature”. The Canadians proclaimed their innocence and the Western world accused China of using them as protagonists in a negotiating game.

The conditions of the detainees varied greatly. While Meng Wanzhou, on bail, spent some time on shackles under house arrest in his Vancouver home, “Two Michaels” as they are often called, were imprisoned in various prisons in China, on vague charges of espionage. In August, Michael Spavor was sentenced to 11 years in prison. No verdict against Michael Kovrig has been announced.

A demonstration for the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in Hong Kong 2020. The two were released in China on Friday.

A demonstration for the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in Hong Kong 2020. The two were released in China on Friday.

Photo: Darryl Dyck/TT

Why is this issue resolved now?

It is not known if any agreement has been reached between Canada and China. Or if the release of Canadians from China was the result of the release of Meng Wanzhou in Canada. She was apparently released in Canada after she was reported to have reached a settlement with US prosecutors who tried to bring her to justice.

In both China and Canada, the news of the releases was welcomed.

Meng Wanzhou and the two Canadians were captured a few days away. Then they are released within a few hours. Wasn’t it just a matter of “hostage diplomacy” on the part of China?

There are divided opinions on this issue. According to the state-controlled Global Times, the answer to the question is: No! According to the newspaper, only Meng Wanzhou was a political prisoner. The release of convicted Michael Spavor has been described as being deported to Canada in a Chinese goodwill gesture.

Chinese media celebrate Meng’s release as a major victory for Chinese diplomacy. From the plane on the way home, the protagonist himself wrote: Under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, our country has become more glorified. Without the power of my country, I would not be free today, Meng penned his message, according to state television.

In a moment of joy, she pays tribute to the same party and state, from which her company Huawei has often tried to distance itself in order to expand 5G networks in the West.

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