Aug 11, 2021
By Jane Brown
Justin Trudeau is calling the 11-year prison sentence delivered Wednesday by a Chinese court to Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor “absolutely unacceptable and unjust.”
A statement was issued by Canada’s prime minister shortly after the sentence for Spavor’s conviction on charges of espionage was announced in the city of Dandong.
But there is a hopeful sign.
Margaret McCuaig-Johnston with the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Ottawa and says the sentencing was accompanied by some interesting and promising language.
“The fact that there’s a possibility of deportation is encouraging, that it’s explicitly mentioned there, and so having the guilty verdict out of the way, there is a possibility should the conditions be right, to send him home,” McCuaig-Johnston explains.
Critics have labelled Michael Spavor’s 2018 arrest, and that of fellow Canadian Michael Kovrig, as “hostage politics” as China pressures Canada to release Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at her current extradition hearing in British Columbia.
Diplomats from the U.S., Japan, Britain, Australia, Germany and other European countries plus the European Union gathered at the Canadian embassy in Beijing Wednesday in a show of support.