Canada owes an apology to China and others deceived: Global Times editorial
Published: Nov 21, 2023 12:10 AM Updated: Nov 20, 2023 11:36 PM
Photo: Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor (right)

Photo: Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor (right)

The Canada media outlet the Globe and Mail's recent exposure that two Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are suspected of engaging in spying activities in China has further revealed the truth of the case, which has caused the biggest diplomatic storm in recent years between China and Canada, and has made Canada's intense allegations of China's so-called "arbitrary detention" lose the factual basis and become a huge lie. This is more than simply an embarrassment to the Canadian government. In the face of the facts, Canada's foreign ministry still flatly denied it, and without the courage to face the truth and all that remains is stubbornness in words.

Many people may still remember how big a fuss was made about this case that happened five years ago, and how agitated Canada was. Kovrig and Spavor were arrested and prosecuted on suspicion of endangering China's national security. Even though the Chinese side had solid evidence, it strictly abided by the judicial process. Canada, however, almost lost its rationality. On the one hand, it insisted that the two men were wrongly accused, smearing China's move as the "retaliation" of Canada detaining Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, and was unacceptable "arbitrary detention"; on the other hand, it rallied diplomats of several other countries to jointly pressure China and attempted to interfere in the judicial sovereignty of China.

With the encouragement of the US, the entire American and Western public opinion cried for justice for the two men and poured out massive offensive and smearing remarks against China, using the case as key material for demonizing China, which seriously damaged China's international image. These remarks have influenced many people's perceptions toward China in the US and Western societies, and in particular have been a turning point in the Canadian public's attitude toward China turning negative. More facts now show that if this is a "wrongly accused case," China is the one that has been wrongly accused, and that this is a huge unjust case created by Canadian and Western public opinion against China.

According to the Globe and Mail, Spavor blamed Kovrig for their detention in China and alleged that he "unwittingly" provided some of the intelligence to Kovrig, who, "unbeknownst to Mr Spavor," passed the information to "the Canadian government and its Five Eyes spy-service partners." These statements confirm Chinese side's charge. If Spavor had disclosed this information in China or to Chinese media, he would undoubtedly be portrayed as "coerced." However, this revelation came more than two years after he gained freedom and exposed it in his own country, which was reported by Canadian media. It is reported that Spavor is seeking a multimillion-dollar settlement with the Canadian government, or else he will sue the Canadian government and Kovrig. The situation is still evolving, and the Canadian government cannot evade it.

Spavor and Kovrig, after being released two years ago, received a hero's welcome in Canada and the US. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed them at the airport, and later, the two were invited to present at US President Biden's speech to Parliament and a gala dinner in Ottawa. Evidently, some people sought to turn them into "living specimens" for discrediting China, leveraging their situation for maximum political gain. However, over these two years, the two unexpectedly maintained silence, contrary to the hopes of some who expected them to come forward and "expose and attack" China. This left those people puzzled and disappointed. Some speculated that the shadow left by their detention in China was too deep for them to revisit those memories willingly. Now we finally know that the unspeakable "difficulty" lies in this aspect: the truth and the story told by Canada are completely two different versions. The silence of the two men is, in fact, a form of defence of the Canadian government.

The Canadian government's hype of this case at the time stirred up a considerable amount of sympathy from the Canadian public toward Kovrig and Spavor, as well as anger towards China. However, such strong emotions were based on a lie of the Canadian government, which is what truly warrants the anger of the Canadian public. Similar absurdities happen frequently in present-day Canada, becoming a part of Canada's distorted politics toward China. Examples include the crazy hype of the "Chinese spy" topic and the previous "arbitrary detention" of Meng Wanzhou, and so on. We find that issue that Canada accuses China most harshly, is actually what it is doing against China - a case of "thief crying stop thief." Canada should offer a sincere apology to China, which it has wronged, as well as extend a sincere apology to Canadian public and the international community that it has deceived.