Senator Ngo deplores appalling differences in prisoner treatment
[For immediate release]- February 8, 2021
Today, Senator Thanh Hai Ngo issued the following Statement in response to the appalling inequalities in prisoner treatment between our Two Michaels (Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor) and Huawei Chief Financial Officer:
Meng Wanzhou, while out on bail, has virtually unheeded access to some of the finer pleasures in life, including visits to her sprawling 8,351-square-foot-residence for art lessons and massages as well as private shopping sessions at some of downtown Vancouver’s most exclusive high-end retailers. She also allegedly enjoys gatherings at a home rented by Huawei employees. As long as she respects her 11pm-to-6am curfew and stays clear of the airport, she is free to be chauffeured around most of the city (while accompanied by private guards.
On January 14th, media reported that Meng Wanzhou’s husband and two children were granted travel exemptions, respectively, in October and November, of last year. Despite the current travel directive barring foreign nationals from non-essential travel to Canada (unless visiting immediate family members who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents), Immigration Canada has granted Meng Wanzhou (who is neither a Canadian citizen nor permanent resident), on a discretionary basis, the luxury of reuniting with her family for the holidays. In clear contravention of local Covid-19 health measures, and while Canadians are given hefty fines for not respecting them, Meng Wanzhou and her family were able to privately enjoy an illegal 14-party Christmas dinner at a restaurant, booked for the occasion. While living this lavish life on bail, Meng Wanzhou, during a hearing in January, had the audacity to ask the court to grant her more freedom and to relax her restrictions.
Bestowing such special favours to this high-profile “detainee” is an utter insult not only to our Two Michaels but to all foreign nationals who submitted applications to Canada for legitimate family reunification – and were denied; as well as to the millions of Canadians who were told by the government not to visit loved ones.
The stark differences in treatment for Mssrs. Kovrig and Spavor, the two Canadians who have been illegally and arbitrarily imprisoned by the Chinese communist regime for over two years now, is completely outrageous; words fail to adequately convey the extent of their miserable plight in prison. With no consular support whatsoever since January of last year, having just been granted “on-site virtual consular access” in October and December of 2020 (as well as on January 21, 2021 for Mr. Kovrig only), our Two Michaels continue to be denied the most basic of human rights while they rot in Chinese prisons. Imprisoned in Shenyang, near the North Korean border, Michael Spavor, sent home a letter in which he asks family to send a sleep mask, deodorant, quick-drying clothes, as well as some books. Mr. Kovrig spends his days walking 7,000 steps a day, as he paces his tiny three-metre-by-three metre prison cell of the Beijing detention centre where he is held.
The Canadian government’s VIP treatment of this “detainee”, while our Two Michaels (and several other innocent Canadians, like Huseyin Celil) serve out harsh Chinese prison sentences in deplorable conditions, is utterly dumbfounding. The facts speak for themselves: the Trudeau government’s cowardice and policy of appeasement with China has done nothing for our Two Michaels. They deserve better.
For more information, please contact:
Office of the Honourable Thanh Hai Ngo
CBC: Detained Canadians in China granted rare consular access