lørdag 22. desember 2018

The ‘forgotten’ Canadians detained in China

The recent arrests of a trio of Canadians in China are part of a trend in recent decades, according to Global Affairs Canada, adding to the current total of around 200 Canadian citizens behind bars in the country. Of the many dozens of cases, only a few get strong or lasting attention. When Christian aid workers Julia and Kevin Garratt were arrested by Chinese officials in 2014 and accused of spying, their plight sparked widespread international outcry. But the friends and family of many other detained Canadians have struggled and failed to put their names in the spotlight.

International treaties and protocols can make it extremely tricky for Ottawa to intervene effectively on behalf of many of these individuals, said Guy Saint-Jacques, former Canadian ambassador to China from 2012 to 2016. He said an enormous portion of his time was devoted to trying to help incarcerated Canadians. Some were Canadians of Chinese origin who entered China using Chinese documentation. Under the Vienna Convention, Beijing can deny consular access or visitation rights in these situations.