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October 5, 2020

Asks too little

Reuel S. Amdur

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Former diplomat Gar Pardy has rallied an impressive group of prominent Canadians in appealing to the government to undertake an exchange with China of Meng Wanzhou, currently held on an extradition request from the United States, for Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, two Canadians seized by China in retaliation. What Pardy proposes is a low-ball offer.

Meng, a top official in the Chinese technology giant Huawei, is seen by the Chinese leadership as a precious commodity.  We have every right to demand top dollar for her.

Top dollar?  Yes, release of the two Michaels but also of Falun Gong practitioner Sun Qian, currently serving an eight-year sentence, and Uyghur human rights defender Huseyin Celil, already in custody for 14 years.  Also, as part of the deal, we need the remission of the death sentences for the four Canadians in prison for drug offenses.

This offer is good for only a limited time.  If Meng ends up being extradited, the offer is obviously off the table.  Meng then faces prison time in the United States.  As for the four Canadian political prisoners, their future prospects appear dim indeed.  And as for the drug offenders, they would need to be prepared to meet their maker.

Think again, Gar.

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