Canada Resumes Hearings On Extradition Of Huawei Exec

Huawei Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou, arrives at British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on November 16, 2020. – Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou appeared for a new round of extradition hearings November 16 in Vancouver, as the two-year anniversary of her arrest by Canadian authorities approaches. (Photo by Don MacKinnon / AFP)

 

Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou finished the first day of a new round of extradition hearings Monday in Vancouver, as the two-year anniversary of her arrest by Canadian authorities approaches.

Meng, chief financial officer of the Chinese tech giant, has been fighting extradition to the United States, where she faces fraud and conspiracy charges related to alleged violations by Huawei of US sanctions on Iran.

Her December 2018 Vancouver arrest plunged Canada-China relations into crisis.

Days later, two Canadians were detained in China, accused by Beijing of espionage in what Ottawa has insisted was a retaliatory move, but which Beijing says was unrelated, while insisting Meng has violated no laws.

Over the next two weeks, Meng’s lawyers will continue their cross-examination of law enforcement involved in her detention.

Monday’s first witness was Bryce McRae, a superintendent at the Canada Border Services Agency who was involved in Meng’s detention at Vancouver airport.

Meng’s lawyers contend that Canada violated her rights when she was detained, searched and interrogated for hours.

Meng has argued, moreover, that US President Donald Trump “poisoned” her chances for a fair hearing by suggesting that he might intervene in the case, but Canada’s attorney general will argue that the court should block some of that evidence.

Meng’s lawyer has accused Canadian border officers of colluding with federal police to obtain her electronic device passcodes, and one officer admitted he unintentionally gave them over by “mistake.”

But now a key witness in that exchange — since-retired officer Ben Chang, who other officers have indicated passed Meng’s digital info to the FBI — has refused to testify, according to Meng’s defense lawyer Richard Peck.

“There may be a number of consequences from his refusal to testify,” Peck said Monday in court, adding that Chang’s absence was concerning.

Chang has denied he shared the data with the FBI, and the email in question was permanently deleted upon his retirement.

‘More closed off’

Sanjit Dhillon, a Canadian customs official present at the time of Meng’s arrest, said Monday that she had asked “repeatedly” why the interrogation was taking so long.

He intervened and then questioned her about why Huawei was not allowed to sell its products in the US.

While she had been “calm and open” at the start of the interview, his questions about allegations that the company was spying for China made her “more closed off,” Dhillon said.

Meng’s lawyer accused Canadian authorities of colluding with the FBI during her interrogation, during which they allegedly tried to gather information about her.

Another customs officer called to testify admitted at a hearing last month that he had given Canadian federal police the passwords to Meng’s electronic devices after her interrogation, though he said it was a mistake.

Canada has consistently denied the abuse of Meng’s rights.

The US has accused Meng — currently under house arrest — of hiding Huawei’s relationship with former subsidiary Skycom to evade US sanctions on Iran, which she denies.

The Trump administration argues Huawei has ties to China’s Communist Party and that its new 5G mobile technology could be used for espionage. It has urged other countries to cut ties with the company.

The extradition case is scheduled to wrap up in April 2021.

 

 

 

-AFP

Canada’s Trudeau Says Pfizer Vaccine Results ‘Promising’

In this file Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau comments on the shooting in Nova Scotia during a news conference April 20, 2020 in Ottawa, Canada. Dave Chan / AFP
In this file Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau comments on the shooting in Nova Scotia during a news conference April 20, 2020 in Ottawa, Canada. Dave Chan / AFP

 

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday he was encouraged by Pfizer and BioNTech’s announcement that their Covid-19 vaccine in trials proved 90 percent effective, adding it could be available in Canada in early 2021.

The two pharmaceutical companies said the vaccine they have jointly developed had during Phase 3 trials provided protection to nearly all patients seven days after the second of two vaccine doses.

At a news conference, Trudeau called the results “promising.” “We see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.

The prime minister said he expects the vaccine to be distributed to Canadians “most likely in the first three months of 2021.”

“But,” he added, “there is a lot of uncertainty involved in these processes.”

Canada signed a deal with US giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech in August for a minimum of 20 million doses of their vaccine.

It was at the time the most advanced vaccine candidate in development among several of which Canada secured access.

Other agreements were signed with AstraZeneca, Sanofi and GSK, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson, Medicago and Moderna for a total of more than 300 million doses for its population of 38 million.

Trudeau noted that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine poses some “logistical distribution” challenges, including that it must be stored at very cold temperatures and therefore getting it to Canadians will be “more complex and slightly more limiting.”

“We are already working on those necessary logistical supports,” he said.

Trudeau also said that testing of several other vaccine candidates was “progressing well” and some of those could be rolled out in early 2021 too.

Until then, he encouraged Canadians to continue to take precautions to limit the spread of the Covid-19 illness, including social distancing and wearing masks.

As of Monday, Canada has reported more than 260,000 Covid-19 infections, including 10,500 deaths.

“To be very clear: If you catch Covid in the coming days and weeks, a vaccine won’t help you or your family,” Trudeau concluded.

AFP

Canada Sword Attacker Kills Two In Halloween Rampage

Firefighter trucks are parked in front of the National Assembly of Quebec, in Quebec City, early on November 1, 2020, after two people were killed and five wounded by a sword-wielding suspect dressed in medieval clothing.  Jordan PROUST / AFP

 

The sword-wielding attacker dressed in medieval costume who killed two people and injured five others in a Halloween rampage on Saturday night in Quebec was “not associated with a terrorist group,” Canadian police said Sunday.

The attacks occurred in multiple locations in the Old Quebec neighborhood, near the tourist hotspot Chateau Frontenac and the National Assembly, the Quebec provincial parliament.

The suspect, who was arrested early Sunday after a manhunt through the streets, is due to make a preliminary court appearance by video-link later in the day.

“Yesterday evening we were plunged into a night of horror when a 24-year-old man, who does not live in Quebec, came with the intention of claiming as many victims as possible,” Quebec City police chief Robert Pigeon told reporters.

“Everything leads us to believe” that the suspect, who was armed with a Japanese-style sword, “chose his victims at random,” Pigeon added.

The police chief said that two of the victims are French people living in Quebec for some years, without specifying whether they were among the dead or injured.

A Police truck is parked near the National Assembly of Quebec, in Quebec City, early on November 1, 2020, after two people were killed and five wounded by a sword-wielding suspect dressed in medieval clothing.  Jordan PROUST / AFP

Some of the injured suffered “significant lacerations,” he said.

The suspect, from Montreal, had planned his attack but had no criminal record.

– ‘Barbaric’ stabbings –
“My heart breaks for the loved ones of the two people killed in last night’s horrific attack in Quebec City,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Twitter. “I’m also wishing a full recovery to the injured.”

“All of Quebec is in mourning this morning,” said Quebec deputy premier Genevieve Guilbault, who denounced “barbaric” acts.

According to three witnesses quoted by Quebec newspaper Le Soleil, the attacker allegedly “slit the throat” of his first victim near the Chateau Frontenac hotel, and there was “a lot of blood.”

The man then continued on Rue des Remparts, where the second person was killed, before heading to the Old Port, wounding the other victims, according to the newspaper.

Quebec resident Karin Lacoste said she was going to a convenience store to do some shopping around 11 pm when she saw several armed police officers wearing bulletproof vests.

“There was one who told me ‘run to your home because there is someone walking around, he is a killer and he has killed people,'” she told LCN news channel. “I was really scared.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the streets of Old Quebec were quiet at the time of the attacks.

AFP

Canada Targets 1.2 Million Immigrants From 2021 To 2023

(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 20, 2017 RCMP officers speak with migrants as they prepare to cross the US/Canada border illegally near Hemmingford, Quebec. Geoff Robins / AFP

 

Canada will aim to welcome 1.2 million immigrants from 2021 to 2023 to make up for a shortfall this year blamed on the pandemic, the immigration minister announced Friday.

The plan calls for accepting 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021, 411,000 in 2022, and 421,000 in 2023 — an immigration rate equal to about one percent of Canada’s population.

“The key to both short-term economic recovery and long-term prosperity is immigration,” Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino told a news conference.

Canada had expected to bring in 341,000 skilled workers, family members of Canadians, and refugees this year.

But because of closed borders and visa offices, quarantines, and few available international flights, only a fraction came.

“As with every other aspect of our lives, the pandemic has affected migration to Canada,” the minister commented.

The new target is about 50,000 per year higher than the previous goal.

To help make up the shortfall, Mendicino said the government would offer permanent resident status to temporary foreign workers, international students, and asylum claimants already in Canada.

He noted that immigrants have been “critical” to Canada’s pandemic response, representing one in four health care workers in hospitals and elderly care homes. They also account for one-third of business owners in Canada.

“Whether they’ve been taking care of our most vulnerable, or putting food on our tables, newcomers have played an outsized role in our response to Covid-19,” he said.

AFP

Black Woman Emerges First Leader Of Canada’s National Party

Annamie Paul. Photo: [email protected] Paul.

 

Toronto lawyer Annamie Paul was Saturday named head of the Green Party, becoming the first Black woman to lead a national political party in Canada.

The 47-year-old mother of two, the daughter of immigrants from the Caribbean, described herself as a “descendant of slaves.”

Paul hailed her victory as a “historic moment” during her speech after the announcement of the results of the internal ballot in Ottawa.

“We have done something that has never been done before in Canadian politics,” said the Jewish lawyer, who has reported being the victim of anti-Semitic attacks on social media.

“Colonialism has robbed me of my original identity,” Paul added in her speech, saying she was ready to support indigenous peoples in particular in their fight against systemic racism within the police.

She succeeds Elizabeth May, who led the Greens for 13 years before stepping down at the end of 2019, following a federal legislative election where her party won only three seats in the House of Commons.

Paul said that under her leadership the party would have two priorities: building a social security net for all Canadians and tackling “the existential crisis of our time, which is the climate emergency.”

“This is the chance of a lifetime for us to move towards a more just, a more resilient society,” she said. “We believe it can be done.”

To repair the economic ravages of the coronavirus pandemic, Paul said the government needed to invest in a “green transition” for a path to the future.

“The choice is yours, if we want different outcomes then we need to make different choices,” said Paul, who previously worked at the International Criminal Court.

The new leader of the Greens said she will run in a legislative by-election in Toronto at the end of October, in the constituency vacated after the surprise resignation of former Liberal finance minister Bill Morneau.

AFP

Canada Spends On Infrastructure To Boost Jobs, Cut CO2 Emissions

In this file photo Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on January 9, 2020 in Ottawa, Canada. Dave Chan / AFP
In this file photo Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference on January 9, 2020 in Ottawa, Canada. Dave Chan / AFP

 

Canada announced billions of dollars in spending on infrastructure projects Thursday that will support a transition to a low-carbon economy during pandemic recovery and create 60,000 jobs over three years.

The government’s nascent Canada Infrastructure Bank will oversee the spending, which totals Can$10 billion (US$7.5 billion) and is meant to fund electric buses, renewable power generation and building retrofits.

It is hoped the projects will also attract private investment.

“Families and businesses want to locate and build where they know infrastructure is modern, clean and resilient,” Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna told a news conference.

“And Canada has an excellent opportunity to be the low-carbon economy that global investors beat a path to if we keep making smart choices right now,” she said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government last week said it would aim to beat its target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Under the Paris Agreement, Ottawa committed to slash CO2 emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The infrastructure money will also go to connect about 750,000 homes and small businesses to broadband in underserved communities and to irrigate 700,000 more acres (283,300 hectares) of land to allow Canadian farmers to produce more food.

AFP

Canada Midfielder Quinn Comes Out As Transgender

(FILES) In this file photo taken on July 28, 2019 Rebecca Quinn #5 of Seattle Reign FC is honored for representing the Canada Women’s National Soccer Team prior to taking on the Chicago Red Stars during their game at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington. – Canada and OL Reign midfielder Rebecca Quinn came out publicly as transgender in an Instagram post on September 8, 2020. (Photo by Abbie Parr / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP).

 

 

Canada and OL Reign midfielder Rebecca Quinn came out publicly as transgender in an Instagram post on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old player, who won Olympic bronze with the Canadian women’s team in 2016 and played for Canada at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, said the post was aimed at helping “queer folx” feel safe on social media.

“As I’ve lived as an openly trans person with the people I love most for many years, I did always wonder when I’d come out publicly,” Quinn wrote.

“I wanted to be visible to queer folx who don’t see people like them on their feed,” Quinn added. “I know it saved my life years ago.”

Quinn urged “cis folks” — those who identify with their birth gender — to be “better allies.”

Quinn plays professionally for the Tacoma, Washington-based OL Reign of the National Women’s Soccer League, and is currently on loan to Vittsjo GIK in Sweden.

Quinn is one of the most prominent North American team sports athletes to come out as transgender.

Triathlete Chris Mosier, who began his athletics career as a woman, competed for the US as a man in 2015.

AFP

I Look Forward To When Hard Work Will Be Rewarded In Nigeria, Says Nigeria-Born Canadian Minister

kaycee-madu
Kaycee Madu is thanking Nigerians for their support and prayers. Photo: [email protected] Madu.

 

 

Nigeria-born Kaycee Madu who was recently appointed as Minister of Justice and Solicitor-General of Alberta in Canada is looking forward to a day when hard work and merit are rewarded in Nigeria and Africa. 

In a tweet on his handle on Sunday evening, Madu who studied Law at the University of Lagos before moving to Canada in 2005, also thanked Nigerians, both home and abroad, for their support and wishes.

READ ALSO: Nigerian High Commission Closes Embassy In Canada

“Thank you for all the support and prayers coming from Nigeria and Nigerians in the Diaspora,” he tweeted.

“I look forward to the day when Nigeria and Africa become places where hard work and merit are rewarded. Chukwu Gozie!”

 

 

He made history as the first African to be appointed as a Minister of Justice in the Canadian province of Alberta and had previously worked as the Minister of Municipal Affairs.

Madu who was called to bar in the early 2000s is said to have left the country – alongside his wife – to Canada where they have been practising.

His most recent appointment  – on Tuesday last week –  has been eliciting reactions from many, both locally and internationally.

‘Landmark, Historic’

Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari described the development as “landmark and historic,” saying it once again pedestals people of Nigerian descent as go-getters, who distinguish themselves in different walks of life.

 

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari.

 

The President added that, as the first Black Justice Minister and Solicitor-General in Canada, Madu has written himself into history books, and urges Nigerians, both at home and abroad, to remain good ambassadors of their country.

For the Premier of Alberta, Jason Kenny, Madu is a “trailblazer” whom he is pleased to see in “our team.”

“From the beginning, Kaycee’s story has been absolutely inspiring to all of us,” he said. “Now he is writing the next chapter as the first Black Justice Minister in Canadian history.”

Nigerian High Commission Closes Embassy In Canada

A screengrab of the Nigerian High Commission building in Ottawa, Canada. Map data: Google.

 

 

The Nigerian High Commission in Ottawa, Canada, has shutdown activities indefinitely. 

A statement posted on the High Commission’s website said the development followed the abuse of a system it put in place to attend to a limited number of persons due to COVID-19 protocols.

“The High Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in Canada wishes to inform Nigerian communities in Canada and the general public that the mission remains closed to the public,” it said.

“The special intervention arrangement whereby emergency cases were being handled on a discretionary basis is hereby suspended.”

 

His Excellency Mr. Adeyinka Asekun, Nigerian High Commissioner to Canada. Photo: Nigerian High Commission, Ottawa, Canada.

 

According to the Commission, the system was set up to help Nigerians who had compelling passport renewal requests

“Our citizens for some reason chose to abuse this system; they would show up at the chancery without an appointment and insist on being attended to even on days when we were not open to the public at all,” the commission, however, said.

It explained that matters came to a head on Friday, August, 14th when a group showed up at the High Commission and did not let the Embassy staff attend to those who had appointments.

“They went as far as holding a female staff member who went to address them, hostage, for over twenty minutes and subjected her to physical abuse,”  the commission added.

“This kind of conduct is considered unnecessarily hostile and totally unacceptable and no embassy would tolerate conduct that puts the lives of its staff members at risk.”

While acknowledging that the closure of the airspace is limiting its ability to “bring much-needed passport booklets into the country” and is an area it will work on, the Nigerian High Commission disclosed that it is “considering ways to make our premises more secure and less susceptible to unruly behaviour and violent mob action.

Nigerians whose work or study permits have expired since March 2020, and who do not have a valid passport, have a grace period that lasts until December 31st, according to the High Commission.

“By this time, we expect to have resolved some of the challenging issues that COVID-19 has created,” the statement added.

 

 

 

Canada Finance Minister Announces His Resignation

Canada’s finance minister, Bill Morneau, announced his resignation on August 17, 2020, on the heels of an ethics scandal and amid a reported split with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over pandemic spending. (Photo by Dave Chan / AFP)

 

Canada’s finance minister Bill Morneau announced his resignation Monday, on the heels of an ethics scandal and amid a reported split with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over pandemic spending.

Morneau, who has held the post since 2015, told a news conference that he met with Trudeau to inform him that he would not run in the next election, and that a new finance minister with a long-term outlook was needed.

“As we move to the next phase of our fight against the pandemic and pave the road towards economic recovery, we must recognize that this process will take many years, it’s the right time for a new finance minister to deliver on that plan for the long and challenging road ahead,” Morneau said.

“That’s why I’ll be stepping down as finance minister, and as member of Parliament,” he stated.

Morneau said he would now run for the job of secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

For the past week, Canadian media have reported on a purported rift emerging between Morneau and Trudeau on how to reboot the Canadian economy weakened by the new coronavirus pandemic, as the government budget deficit soared to more than Can$340 billion (US$257 billion).

Canada’s ethics commissioner also launched an investigation into the minister’s ties to a charity tapped by Ottawa to distribute pandemic aid to young Canadians.

Trudeau is also being probed over his family ties to the WE Charity, which paid his wife, brother and mother nearly Can$300,000 for speaking engagements in recent years.

The prime minister apologized last month for the affair, saying he made a mistake in not recusing himself from discussions about awarding the roughly Can$500 million contract to distribute student scholarship funds to WE Charity.

The program has been cancelled but the controversy remains.

Scapegoat

Opposition parties had called for Morneau to resign after he revealed that he had only recently paid back more than Can$41,000 in travel expenses to the charity, and that one of his daughters works for WE Charity while a second daughter volunteered for the organization.

The reimbursement check was meant to cover expenses incurred by the charity over two humanitarian trips he and his family took in 2017.

The scandal has damaged Trudeau’s minority government in public opinion polls, but his Liberal party is still positioned well for an early election, according to recent polls.

The Conservatives and New Democrats on Monday said Morneau’s departure was a sign of a government “in chaos” and that the former businessman was being made a scapegoat.

“At a time when Canadians are worried about their health and their finances, Justin Trudeau’s government is so consumed by scandal that Trudeau has amputated his right hand to try and save himself,” Tory leader Andrew Scheer said in a Twitter message.

The finance post is one of the most important in government as the country goes through the most serious economic crisis since World War II.

In a statement, Trudeau thanked Morneau for his tireless work to “create a resilient, fair economy that benefits everyone.”

He said Morneau had led the rollout of emergency benefits for millions of Canadians who lost their jobs and businesses that were forced to close temporarily due to a pandemic lockdown.

And, he added, Canada will “vigorously support” Morneau’s bid to lead the OECD, which “will play a critical role in the global economic recovery.”

Now the focus will shift to Morneau’s successor.

Deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland, Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne and Treasury Board President Jean-Yves Duclos have been mentioned in the local media as possible candidates.

The job could also go to former Bank of Canada and Bank of England governor Mark Carney, who is currently living in Ottawa and has been informally providing policy advice to the government.

 

 

-AFP

China Sentences Another Canadian To Death On Drug Charges

A file photo of a court gavel.

 

 

China sentenced another Canadian to death on drugs charges Friday, the second in two days to be handed the punishment, as tensions soar between Beijing and Ottawa.

The Foshan Intermediate People’s Court in the country’s southern Guangdong province said Ye Jianhui had been sentenced for trafficking and manufacturing drugs, and would have all his assets confiscated.

According to the state-run Global Times, authorities seized more than 217 kilogrammes of white crystals containing MDMA from Ye and five others in 2016.

The rest of the group were also sentenced on Friday and one other death sentence was issued, while the others were given lesser penalties.

It comes a day after a court in the provincial capital Guangzhou handed a death sentence to Canadian national Xu Weihong on a charge of making drugs.

Last year, China also sentenced two other Canadians to death on drug trafficking charges as ties sour between the two countries on a number of fronts including the arrest of top Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

Canadian pleas for clemency for the pair, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg and Fan Wei, have so far not been successful.

When asked about the latest case Friday, China’s foreign ministry said its “judicial organs handle cases independently in strict accordance with the law”.

“We urge Canada to take immediate and effective measures to correct its mistakes and make concrete efforts to bring bilateral relations back on track,” said spokesman Wang Wenbin at a regular press briefing.

– Deteriorating ties –

Relations have deteriorated rapidly between the two countries in a number of areas over recent years.

Two other Canadian nationals have been detained by Beijing on spying charges — including a former diplomat — a move widely considered retaliation for Meng’s arrest in Canada.

The United States wants Meng extradited to face trial on charges related to Chinese telecom equipment maker Huawei’s alleged violations of US sanctions against Iran.

In June, Beijing formally charged the two men with espionage.

Canadian foreign minister François-Philippe Champagne said before the latest sentencing that his government had told Beijing they “oppose the death penalty at every step of the way”.

Beijing keeps its data secret about the number of death sentences it carries out every year.

But according to Amnesty International, China is the world’s top executioner, with thousands believed to be killed each year.

 

AFP

China Sentences Canadian To Death Over Drug Charge

A file photo of Chinese President, Xi Jinping
A file photo of the Chinese President, Xi Jinping

 

A Chinese court sentenced a Canadian national to death on Thursday in a ruling that could further inflame tensions between China and Canada.

The Guangzhou Intermediate Court said in a statement it had handed Xu Weihong a death sentence for manufacturing drugs, and said all his personal property would be confiscated.

According to China’s state-run Global Times, Xu had bought raw materials and tools for drug production in October 2016 and worked with an accomplice, Wen Guanxiong, to make ketamine.

The drugs were made in Wen’s home and stored in Xu’s residence in Guangzhou, with public security officers seizing over 120 kilogrammes of ketamine from the pair, the report added.

The ruling comes after China sentenced two other Canadians to death on drug trafficking charges last year, and as tensions soar between the two countries on a number of fronts including the arrest of top Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.

Beijing has also detained two Canadian nationals, including a former diplomat, on spying charges, in a move widely considered retaliation for Meng’s arrest in Canada.

The United States wants Meng extradited to face trial on charges related to the Chinese telecom equipment maker’s alleged violations of US sanctions against Iran.

On Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular briefing that “Chinese judicial organs handle all criminals of different nationalities according to law”.

Referring to the latest case involving Xu, Wang added: “I don’t think this should have any impact on China-Canada relations.”

Diplomatic tensions

Diplomatic relations between Canada and China have deteriorated over China’s arrests and Meng’s case, damaging trade between both countries.

Canadian pleas for clemency for its citizens previously sentenced on drug charges, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg and Fan Wei, have so far not been successful.

In this file photo taken on May 8, 2019, Turnisa Matsedik-Qira, of the Vancouver Uyghur Association, demonstrates against China's treatment of Uighurs while holding a photo of detained Canadians Michael Spavor (L) and Michael Kovrig outside a court appearance for Huawei Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou at the British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver. Jason Redmond / AFP
In this file photo taken on May 8, 2019, Turnisa Matsedik-Qira, of the Vancouver Uyghur Association, demonstrates against China’s treatment of Uighurs while holding a photo of detained Canadians Michael Spavor (L) and Michael Kovrig outside a court appearance for Huawei Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou at the British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver. Jason Redmond / AFP

 

Meanwhile, in June Beijing formally charged the other pair of detained Canadians — ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor — for spying, in a move that came just weeks after a key ruling in the Meng case.

A Canadian judge had ruled that proceedings to extradite her to the United States will go ahead.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed disappointment with the formal charges in June, renewing calls for their release.

Monthly consular visits for Kovrig and Spavor have been suspended since the coronavirus outbreak started in China as well, sparking concerns over their health.

Although China’s foreign ministry insisted the pair were in good health, people familiar with the matter have told AFP they endured hours of interrogation and in the first six months of detention were forced to sleep with the lights on.

China keeps data secret about the number of death sentences it carries out every year.

But according to Amnesty International, China is the world’s top executioner, with thousands believed to be killed each year.

 

AFP