One day after former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig was detained in Beijing, China announced on Thursday that a second Canadian businessman, Michael Spavor, is likewise being investigated over "activities that endanger China's national security".
Both men were detained following the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Canada although China mentioned no connection between them. Canada also said there was currently no "explicit indication" of any link. Nonetheless, international media outlets as well as Chinese public opinion consider the detentions to be retaliation by Beijing.
The current situation is delicate among China, the US and Canada. Washington and Ottawa suppressed Huawei with their familiar legal weapons, clothing the outrageous move under the pretext of seemingly perfect legal procedure.
Washington and Ottawa obviously want to dominate this game. Their unspoken words are that detainment of Canadian citizens in China has to be conducted in a system as open and transparent as theirs, for instance, through holding bail hearings. They know well it's difficult to do so in China which has different legal system and information disclosure channel from them. Communication is therefore hard to be formed.
However, there is no doubt that Beijing is entitled to arrest Canadians under Chinese law. Due to their strong capabilities in demonstrating legal process and influencing public opinion, the US and Canada beautified their move as law enforcement, while China's arrests appeared to be awkward. This is the price of China's lack of modern governance.
It is conceivable that some Western media will be biased, but China's national interests are as significant as those of other countries and must be defended. A sophisticated legal system and powerful public opinion do not necessarily lead to justice. Common sense tells us that it is legitimate for China to investigate two Canadians in accordance with the law, no matter what information the Chinese security department makes public, and regardless of public opinion speculation.
The arrest of Meng caused a serious impact on the international order for business competition, which is nowadays a most precious resource around the world. When some people from Western countries accused China of damaging such order, we want to ask, which case is more destructive?
Western commentators should honestly ask themselves which one, between the US and China, has broken more international rules and ignited the planet in recent years?
The Chinese system is very different from that of the US, and so is the comparison between developing and developed Western countries. International order is based on mutual respect between countries, not challenging each other's bottom line. The domestic laws of the US and Canada are not a guideline for everyone.
China is a self-disciplined big country that treasures peaceful ties with the Western world. These countries, including the US and its allies, should act accordingly, valuing China's core interests and bottom line.
It is quite simple to end the crisis between China and Canada by giving back Meng's complete freedom. China will investigate the two detained Canadians in accordance with laws, and their primary rights will be guaranteed during the process.