The two Michaels affair is only one of many lies West spreads about China
Published: Nov 22, 2023 08:41 PM
Photo: Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor (right)

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

When the truth finally emerged about the two Michaels affair, three things happened. The first was that Canada was exposed as having lied about it, consistently, and for years. The second was that China was vindicated - Beijing's version of events was proved to be correct, by none other than one of the accused. Third, it begged the rather obvious question, if the West lied so determinedly about the two Michaels, what else does it lie about? 

When tourist travel businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig were arrested in December 2018, there was fury from the Canadian government, the anger of which was faithfully repeated in the Canadian media. Officials hatched lies and deceptions which were repeated ad nauseam for more than three years. Even after China agreed to free the pair and allow them to return to Canada in September 2021, the government in Ottawa continued to parrot its dishonesty, ignoring Beijing's protestations that their statements were untrue. Since then, they have been proven to be untrue. Bizarrely, Ottawa continues to stick to its story, even now, after Spavor has spoken out.

At the time of the two Michaels' arrests, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau categorically denied that the men were involved in spying. Multiple officials repeated claims of arbitrary detention, of false charges being laid, and of Beijing inventing a spy scandal to retaliate for the arrest in Canada - at the request of Washington, which was playing its own geopolitical games at the time over Huawei - of Meng Wanzhou on fabricated charges of fraud, with which she was never charged. After the allegations were dropped so too was a request for her extradition to the US. 

Yet even after her release, and the expulsion of the two Michaels from China, the Canadian government maintained the falsehood of their innocence and that the arrests were "arbitrary." That same disingenuousness continues even to this day, as the truth broke in Canada's Globe and Mail news organization, citing anonymous sources.

According to the Globe and Mail report, Spavor is claiming millions of dollars in compensation and threatening to sue both the Ottawa government and Kovrig because information he had gathered in North Korea was passed on to Kovrig and then found its way to the Five Eyes intelligence network of Anglophone countries, supposedly without his knowledge. Yet still Ottawa denies this.

What is it with Trudeau's government? What kind of strategy is this? Did they think that not getting caught out telling a lie was the same thing as telling the truth? And now they have eventually been caught out, are they following that sinister maxim about telling an untruth often enough and with conviction, that it will eventually be believed? That's been tried before, I think. And it has been tried many, many times over the years by Western governments when they wish to smear China or to cover their own misdeeds.

Here in Britain, we are used to being lied to by our government. The most egregious example is perhaps when it claimed - along with its allies in Washington - that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and that this justified launching a war there in 2003. It later transpired that the people had been lied to. There were no WMDs and there had not been the intelligence to support the claims. By then, of course, it was too late.

Western governments regularly slander China with allegations about Xinjiang, even though careful analysis debunks so-called research into alleged horrors. Those who challenge the dominant - often American-sponsored - narrative are attacked as enablers of such atrocities.

There were lies told about the origin and spread of COVID-19 which blamed China for the pandemic, even after the World Health Organization dismissed them.

Hong Kong and Tibet are often misleadingly portrayed as victims of a larger neighbor: a vanished South China Sea paradise and a lost Shangri-La respectively. Yet no such stories relate the oppressive 150 years of British colonial rule over Hong Kong, nor the appalling near-feudal existence of Tibetans under the monasteries before Chinese rule. The West also likes to lie about China's position of neutrality in Ukraine, claiming its refusal to condemn any one party to the war as approval of the fighting. 

If Canada can so lie about the two Michaels like this, we should question anything they, and others in the West, say. With every utterance, we should ask "Can this be true? Why should the world believe a word they say?" So, what is true? It's true that Canada knowingly and reportedly lied about the two Michaels being involved in espionage. We should be shocked, but to be honest it's what we've come to expect.

The author is a journalist and lecturer in Britain. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn