India — Canada has warned its citizens against travelling to the Chinese province of Xinjiang, saying they face the “risk of arbitrary detention” on doing so.
In an advisory on Saturday, Ottawa said, “Chinese authorities are increasingly detaining ethnic and Muslim minorities in the region without due process. There are reports of extrajudicial internment and forced labour camps. Family members of Canadian citizens with Chinese citizenship have been detained.”
Canada also cautioned those who undertake journalism or research in China, particularly in Xinjiang or Tibet. “You should be particularly vigilant if researching or reporting on subjects critical of or sensitive to the government and in areas such as Tibet or Xinjiang,” says the advisory, pointing to instances of arrests of foreign journalists on grounds of national security violations.
In general, Canada asked its citizens to exercise a high degree of caution if travelling to China “due to the risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws”.
In July last year, Canada sent out an advisory with regard to Hong Kong, warning that Canadians going there “may be at increased risk of arbitrary detention on national security grounds and possible extradition to mainland China”.
Relations between Canada and China turned sour since the detention of Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, in Vancouver in 2018. She was detained following an extradition request from the US for allegedly trying to bypass sanctions imposed on Iran.
Days after her arrest, Chinese officials detained two Canadian nationals, Michael Spavor and Michael Korvig, who are in jail in what Canada has called “hostage diplomacy”. The two Michaels have been charged with spying and ferrying state secrets outside China.
More recently, on February 22 this year, Canada’s House of Commons passed a resolution defining Chinese actions in Xinjiang as “genocide”.