OTTAWA, ON (June 25, 2020) – Alliance Canada Hong Kong (ACHK) condemns hostage diplomacy and calls attention to the 123 detained Canadians in China. We demand that the Canadian government commit itself to protecting our citizens abroad. With the Meng Wanzhou case, the Chinese government is trying to lure Canada into a hostage situation, where the lives and safety of Canadians are used as a bargaining chip to trade political favours.
Engaging in hostage diplomacy sets a dangerous precedent that will put a target on all Canadians abroad. Since Meng’s arrest, thirteen Canadians have been detained in China, and Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are isolated as the primary targets of the Chinese government. If Canada compromises in favour of the Chinese government, it shows that any hostile foreign country can hold Canadians hostage to threaten and pressure the Canadian government into compliance. We must not accept the Chinese government’s hostage-taking and let it diminish Canada’s autonomy and strength on the international stage.
Beijing has deliberately tried to alienate itself from the international community. In 2017, Xi Jinping spoke about his global ambitions and Beijing’s role to “guide the international community to jointly build a more just and reasonably new world order.” The Chinese Communist Party has been rewriting global order in their favour: exporting its authoritarian control onto democratic societies.
Canada must take a strong and principled stance, driving a multilateral approach to take a united stance against China’s systematic hostage diplomacy. The international community needs to stand together in calling for the release of global citizens who are imprisoned for politically-driven reasons in China.
It is undeniable that the Chinese government is holding foreign nationals hostage as chips to bargain with democratic governments. We believe in the unity of democratic societies and our international allies. Canada must stand with our allies, rather than kneeling before Beijing’s autocracy. Other nations are looking to our example.
Instead, ACHK recommends the following policy solutions:
1. Launch a coordinated response with other democratic societies to demand the release of foreign nationals who are arrested for politically motivated crimes;
2. Investigate the feasibility of bringing back Canadians via international institutional avenues, such as the International Court of Justice & Human Rights Council;
3. Investigate and combat foreign interference into Canadian institutions, through a national registry of foreign agents and national foreign influence transparency legislation.
ACHK supports and welcomes Taiwanese, Tibetan, Uyghur, Chinese, and other communities who are suffering from persecution by the Chinese Communist Party. ACHK stands in solidarity with Indigenous and marginalized communities both within Canada and abroad. alliancecanadahk.com | firstname.lastname@example.org