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Foreign Affairs stories

Canadians can be subject to arrest and detention under Hong Kong’s new national security regime

According to law professor Michael Davis, the expansive nature of the new laws could implicate dual-citizens or Canadians currently in Hong Kong.

On Thursday, witnesses at the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations told parliamentarians that under Beijing’s new repressive national security regime in Hong Kong, Canadians could be arrested by secret police for speaking out against China. 

According to law professor Michael Davis, the expansive nature of the new laws could implicate dual-citizens or Canadians currently in Hong Kong. 

“Under the new law it doesn’t matter that what we are saying here today is not violating Canadian law and exercising freedom of expression,” Prof. Davis said.

“We could be charged if we advocate sanctions against China now. And there is a kind of secret police now. If security officials from Mainland China want to, they can render you to the Mainland for trial. So Hong Kongers, or foreigners in Hong Kong including Canadians, if they are arrested they can be taken to China.”

Democracy advocate and Hong Kong activist with Alliance Canada Hong Kong Jody Chan also confirmed Davis’ conclusions, saying that the new laws can apply to foreigners as well.

“Any Canadian, or anyone in the world who is highly critical of the Chinese Communist Party can be charged and arrested for ‘subversion,’” said Chan. 

“Article 38 does not only target people of Chinese heritage. The accusation against and detention of former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor showed Beijing’s willingness to use similar legislation against any foreign entities.”

Since the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, China has ramped up pressure on Canada and retaliated by detaining several Canadian citizens.

Among those detained are Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, who were unlawfully arrested on trumped-up espionage charges shortly after Wanzhou. 

Earlier this month, China also sentenced two other Canadians to death in a matter of two days, bringing the total number of Canadians who are facing the death sentence in the country up to four. 

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