The fan­tasy king­dom of China’s am­bas­sador

The Hamilton Spectator - - Opinion -

As a work of sci­ence fic­tion-fan­tasy, last week’s ar­ti­cle by China’s am­bas­sador to Canada de­cry­ing our ar­rest of a Chi­nese cit­i­zen makes a fas­ci­nat­ing read.

In the bizarre, par­al­lel uni­verse am­bas­sador Lu Shaye in­hab­its, ne­far­i­ous Canada is ruled by law­less white su­prem­a­cists who op­er­ate by a de­spi­ca­ble dou­ble stan­dard as they tram­ple over ba­sic hu­man rights. His no­ble China, in con­trast, is a tol­er­ant, com­pas­sion­ate, free­dom-lov­ing bas­tion of the rule of law.

Un­for­tu­nately, rather than ped­dle his pre­pos­ter­ous imag­in­ings as cre­ative writ­ing, am­bas­sador Lu had them pub­lished in The Hill Times, an Ot­tawa news­pa­per that cov­ers Cana­dian fed­eral pol­i­tics.

“It seems that, to some peo­ple, only Cana­dian cit­i­zens should be treated in a hu­man­i­tar­ian man­ner and their free­dom deemed valu­able, while Chi­nese peo­ple do not de­serve that,’’ Lu thun­dered, as he cas­ti­gated Canada for le­gally de­tain­ing Huawei ex­ec­u­tive Meng Wanzhou for pos­si­ble ex­tra­di­tion to the United States.

“The rea­son why some peo­ple are used to ar­ro­gantly adopt­ing dou­ble stan­dards is due to Western ego­tism and white supremacy,” he added.

Ouch. It hardly needs stat­ing that Lu’s gloves-off as­sault on Canada’s po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment is the most undiplo­matic diplo­macy imag­in­able. Cana­di­ans might feel in­sulted — if they could dis­cern a shred of sub­stance in these rav­ings. Since they can’t, they’ll likely only feel be­mused. Lu has ev­ery­thing back­wards. Con­sider his charge that Canada does not treat peo­ple with hu­man­i­tar­ian con­sid­er­a­tion or value their free­dom while, by im­pli­ca­tion, China does.

After be­ing ar­rested in Van­cou­ver in early De­cem­ber, Huawei’s Meng ex­pe­di­tiously ob­tained le­gal coun­sel, went through a bail hear­ing and was re­leased on a $10-mil­lion surety that al­lows her to live com­fort­ably to­day in one of her op­u­lent man­sions in that city.

Life is hardly so pleas­ant for for­mer Cana­dian diplo­mat Michael Kovrig and Cana­dian en­tre­pre­neur Michael Spa­vor, who were ar­rested in China last month in seem­ing re­tal­i­a­tion for Meng’s de­tain­ment. The two men re­main im­pris­oned in China, re­port­edly sub­jected to mul­ti­ple daily in­ter­ro­ga­tions and con­fined to cells where the lights are al­ways on. They have been granted nei­ther bail nor what Cana­di­ans would con­sider le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

When Lu uses words like “hu­man­i­tar­ian” and “free­dom,” his mind-blow­ing hypocrisy makes us gag.

And where did he get the idea Canada’s fed­eral gov­ern­ment is run by white su­prem­a­cists? Hasn’t Canada’s Par­lia­ment in­creas­ingly be­come a true mir­ror of this coun­try’s ra­cial, eth­nic and re­li­gious di­ver­sity?

And aren’t in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights ad­vo­cates de­nounc­ing China for cur­rently in­car­cer­at­ing as many as one mil­lion Chi­nese Mus­lims in de­ten­tion camps where they are be­ing in­doc­tri­nated to give up their faith? It’s as if these un­for­tu­nate peo­ple sim­ply dis­ap­peared.

If there’s any up­side to what the am­bas­sador wrote, it’s that his col­umn per­forms an in­valu­able les­son for Cana­di­ans by re­veal­ing the warped and para­noid mind­set of the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment. There is still a sense of resid­ual hu­mil­i­a­tion in China over the way the coun­try was treated and, yes, mis­treated by Euro­pean and Amer­i­can colo­nial pow­ers in the late 19th and early 20th cen­turies. Cana­di­ans need to ap­pre­ci­ate that per­spec­tive.

At the same time they should re­al­ize China is in­tent on re­gain­ing its by­gone im­pe­rial glory and ex­pects the world to kow­tow to the cur­rent in­car­na­tion of its an­cient em­per­ors — pres­i­den­tial dic­ta­tor Xi Jin­ping. We must not.

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