VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The fear of detainment may be keeping people from travelling between Canada and China after high-profile arrests in both countries.
Ian Young, the Vancouver correspondent for the South China Morning Post, says a travel warning issued by Beijing has significantly contributed to thousands of Chinese citizens no longer visiting or seeking to live in Canada.
“It’s very high on the minds of a lot of people in China and they look at this situation and they think, ‘Oh well this might happen to me’ because there is widespread belief in mainland China her detention has been arbitrary. That’s certainly the perception.”
Young, who’s written extensively about the detention of Meng Wanzhou, says Chinese immigration applications in June dropped to their lowest monthly total since early 2015.
Fallout from arrest of @Huawei executive may include fewer Chinese people immigrating or seeking visitor visas to Canada. @ianjamesyoung70 says, "It's high on the minds of a lot of people in China and they look at this situation and they think, 'Oh well this might happen to me'. https://t.co/3VrUNbc56y
— Marcella Bernardo (@Bernardo1130) August 14, 2019
“I don’t think it’s actually that surprising considering the level of language China has employed,” he says. “I mean, they issued a travel warning and they warned Chinese citizens about the risk of arbitrary detention in Canada. So you know, there’s been quite heated language coming from China.”
He adds visitor visa approvals dropped by more than 40 per cent in May and the concerns are valid on both sides of the Pacific Ocean because Canadians are also nervous about travelling to China.
“Having said that, I mean, there’s a huge flow of traffic still back and forth, so the actual risk is probably quite low. The arrests of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are certainly a shock to a lot of people. It does look like retaliation for what happened to Meng Wanzhou.”
Young’s latest story delves into what’s happened since January when Beijing issued the travel warning about the risk of Chinese nationals possibly being detained in Canada.
Meng Wanzhou was taken into custody at the request of the U.S. government when she landed at Vancouver International Airport in December (2018).
Within days, Spavor and Kovrig were detained by Chinese authorities.