Who would you rather be? Huawei’s Meng in Canada or a random Canadian held in China?

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 January, 2019, 6:34pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 January, 2019, 6:34pm

I’m sick of the incessant “whataboutery” in these pages. For example: China may steal technology, sure, but what about the US? Yes, China may unfairly subsidise its exports, but what about Europe? China may improperly hinder imports, but what about Japan? I refer to columns by David Dodwell and Robert Delaney.

Then there’s the thrust of Alex Lo’s column, “Sabrina Meng Wanzhou case exposes the worst of East and West” (January 22): yes, China may jail random expat Canadians, but what about the US? The latter, according to Lo, is wielding the so-called rule of law to arrest Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou.

I encourage Lo to do a thought experiment: where would he prefer to be jailed, China or the US? Would he rather criticise Chinese President Xi Jinping on Beijing’s Wangfujing or harangue US President Donald Trump on New York’s Broadway? He could try it to find out just how “so-called” the US legal system is. China jails people arbitrarily; a “what about the US” argument doesn’t work here. There’s no equivalence in the law nor in the treatment of dissent.

Neither is there any equivalence between the arrest of Ms Meng and the jailing of unfortunate Canadians. Let’s not forget the charges against Meng have been made public, that she has been read her rights and that she is out on bail, consulting her lawyers on a defence. Meanwhile, the hapless Canadians were not even allowed lawyers, let alone to prepare a defence. Another Canadian earlier given a long jail term is now on death row – what about that?

A final bit of whataboutery: the US is run by lawyers; China is run by engineers, and it shows. What about both countries getting a bit more in balance – more lawyers in China and more engineers in the US? Isn’t that something we could all get behind? In the meantime, enough of the tu quoque.

Peter Forsythe, Discovery Bay