Member of Parliament Michael Cooper told CBC he and the other five delegates have been thoroughly briefed by foreign affairs officials about their trip to China. (CBC)

Canadian parliamentarians go to China in spite of tensions

A Canadian parliamentary delegation is on its way to China and has been briefed on how to handle the issue of two Canadians detained there should it come up. The goal of the delegates is to enhance business and general relations between the two countries.

The trip was planned before Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were detained by China .The two were seized shortly after Canadian law enforcement officials arrested Meng Wanzhou, the head of Chinese telecom Huawei because of an extradition request by the United States. She has since been released on bail and is residing at her home in the western city of Vancouver.

Michael Kovrig (left) and Michael Spavor were detained in China in mid December 2018. China’s prosecutor-general said the two accused of endangering national security had violated the law “without a doubt.” (The Canadian Press/AP)

Limited comments suggested

If the detention of the two Canadians is discussed while they are in China, the six parliamentarians have been advised to only say the two detained Canadians should have access to a lawyer, access to Canada’s ambassador to China, and should the need arise, they should be provided medical care.

Asked if they were worried about travelling to China, the parliamentarians said they had been well briefed by Canadian Global Affairs officials. In addition, Senator Joseph Day told Canadian Press an elevated travel ban for Canadians would be counterproductive.

Canada has not changed it travel advisory for China since Kovrig and Spavor were detained. It continues to advise Canadian travellers to China to “exercise a high degree of caution.”

With files from CBC, Canadian Press.

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