Dominic Barton, Global Managing Director, McKinsey & Company, United Kingdom listens during the session 'Global Financial Outlook' at the Annual Meeting 2014 of the World Economic Forum at the congress centre in Davos, January 22, 2014. World Economic Forum
By naming Dominic Barton to be Canada’s Chinese envoy, Ottawa has left Uyghurs worried
  • Sun, 09/08/2019 - 20:18

MEHMET TOHTI
CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED 6 HOURS AGO

Mehmet Tohti was born in Kashgar in northwest China and is the founder of the Uyghur Canadian Society and the Canadian representative for the World Uyghur Congress.

The appointment of Canada’s new ambassador to China was a much-watched affair. The position had remained open since John McCallum was removed from the posting after weighing in on the legal arguments in favour of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Canada at the request of the United States and awaits an extradition trial. Relations between Canada and an increasingly belligerent China entered a deep-freeze when Ms. Meng was detained in December, and lacking an ambassador for more than seven months has not helped. Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were detained in response to Ms. Meng’s arrest and they are still languishing in prison.

But there are other issues, too, including Chinese trade embargoes that have damaged major Canadian agricultural industries, as well as the issue of Uyghurs – an ethnic minority group largely living in China’s northwest Xinjiang province that, according to reports and investigations from media outlets and international organizations, has been placed in camps, or “vocational training centres” as China calls them, without due process. Prominent voices have spoken against this forced mass detention of more than one million people, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who called it “the stain of the century."

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