The fantasy kingdom of China’s ambassador
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.