The Ottawan authorities have indicated an intention to renegotiate an extension to its extradition treaty with China. This is a politically controversial move in light of the fact it took place just two days before Canadian missionary Kev Garratt was expected to be deported from the country.
Canada’ national security adviser met with officials from the Chinese government in Calgary last Tuesday in order to hold talks on the extradition issue, which a former top Canadian politician describes as a ‘classic quid pro quo’ between the two countries.
China has long desired a renegotiation to the extradition treaty that would then ensure that Canada transfers corrupt Chinese officials to a country known for secret courts and creative interrogation methods and where the death sentence is routinely imposed even for minor misdemeanors.
Top Foreign Affairs Spokesman Stéphane Dion has said that Canada did not accept and sweeteners for the swift return of Garratt, who had served three years in Chinese custody on ‘trumped-up’ charges of espionage.
“It’s not the Prime Minister’s general style,” Dion told press representatives on Friday in Calgary when she was asked if Canada had done a special deal to ensure Mr. Garratt’s return. “Prime Minister Trudeau doesn’t make unprincipled concessions.”
A top diplomat who was close to the extradition negotiations said that it appeared that China had used Mr. Garratt to gain leverage in the discussions.
“The Chinese government is just a very canny negotiator with a lot of experience in negotiating with various Western states andwe may not have been operating with the same degree of care and sophistication,” explained the diplomat who did not wish to be named.
Sources indicate that the Chinese and Canadian lawyers have negotiated an extradition treaty whereby each nation will share the confiscated assets of corrupt Chinese officials that are made the subject of extradition proceedings.
A day after the talks were initiated Garratt was released by a top Chinese Court. Extradition lawyers have stated that he is now free to return to Cananda
This is a goodwill gesture and his lawyers have said that he will return to his homeland as soon as possible.
Critics of the treaty have indicated that extradition to China will involve inevitable human rights abuses that should not be ignored.
Canada does usually forbid the extradition of people to countries where the death penaltyis in place, although Chinese fugitives have been repatriated on condition they are not executed and this assurance has generally been upheld.
In 2011, Canada unofficially extradited Lai Changxing, who had beenconvicted in China of heading a massive smuggling operation.
China reassured Canada he would not face the death penalty.
Canada has extradited more than 1,400 Chinese nationals since 2009, mainly involving illegal immigration. Top extradition lawyers say many more are to now follow.