This story keeps getting weirder all the time.
National Review’s Kelly Jane Torrance tweeted something right out of a Tom Clancy novel — assuming Clancy had a secret stash of LSD. On today’s news out of China, she said, “The plot thickens. The second Canadian detained in China post-Huawei arrest is a drinking buddy of Kim Jong-un.”
Before we get to that though, we have to back up a little.
A week or so ago, tech giant Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada for possible extradition to this country on some serious charges. CBS News reported then that “a prosecutor for the Canadian government urged the court not to grant bail, saying the charges against Meng involve U.S. allegations that Huawei used a shell company to access the Iran market in dealings that contravene U.S. sanctions.” The details are thin right now, but prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley said that “Meng assured U.S. banks that Huawei and the shell company alleged to have done business with Iran, called Skycom, were separate companies, but in fact Skycom and Huawei were one and the same.”
China has embraced just enough capitalism to pull hundreds of millions out of poverty in a very short time, and build gleaming modern city after gleaming modern city out of former rice paddies and wheat fields. But otherwise what they practice isn’t anything we’d recognize as free, transparent, or even decent. It can be literally impossible to tell where private enterprise stops and government begins, and even the People’s Liberation Army is into big business in ways we wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) tolerate in the West.
So if Meng, a C-level exec in a purportedly private firm, was in fact doing dirty deeds on behalf of the Communist Party, well… that’s just public-private business as usual in the People’s Republic.
What’s telling is that Meng’s arrest has turned into a tit-for-tat game of big money/high-tech international communist-corporatism*.
In today’s news, “China’s state security bureau is holding Michael Spavor on suspicion of jeopardizing China’s national security.” That’s the kind of vague, virtually meaningless charge so common to Communist kangaroo courts.
So who is Spavor? The report says that “Spavor is director of the Paektu Cultural Exchange, a company that runs cultural and business exchanges with North Korea.” And here’s where it gets weird. Spavor is also “one of the only Westerners to have ever met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and helped arrange a visit to North Korea by former NBA player Dennis Rodman.”
Clancy on acid, indeed.
The story also notes that “Spavor went missing earlier this week, after first contacting Canadian authorities to let them know he was being questioned by Chinese authorities.” So he’s probably either in official custody, which would not be good, or in unofficial custody, which as you know in Communist countries can be far worse.
This comes days after Chinese intelligence arrested former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig:
Kovrig was detained by China’s spy agency during a visit to Beijing on Monday, just nine days after Canadian authorities, acting on a U.S. request, arrested a top Huawei Technologies Co. executive in Vancouver. Details about Kovrig’s detention are scarce, but Chinese media reported Wednesday the researcher with a Brussels-based non-profit research group is being investigated for activities that endanger national security.
Now that’s just spooky as hell, an intel agency grabbing a former diplomat off the streets and then going mum about his whereabouts — all in retaliation, apparently, for the perfectly legal arrest of a very shady financial officer. And I should mention that Meng will receive all the legal protections she’s entitled to under Canadian and U.S. law. What will become of Kovrig and Spavor now that they’re under the tender mercies of Communist thugs? I wouldn’t even want to guess.
What we do know is this: Chinese Communists will engage in what we could fairly describe as high-level/quasi-legal kidnappings, in order to protect their financial interests in terror-sponsoring countries like Syria and Iran. This, after having spent years stealing or forcing the transfer of enough Western technology to make possible a big business/Communist front corporation like Huawei.
I’d say that Marx was spinning in his grave, except you just know that deep in his rotten little heart this is pretty much exactly the kind of power-grab he secretly envisioned.
*Big money/high-tech international communist-corporatism is actually a thing now. The 21st Century is an odd time.