China's ambassador: Detention of B.C. winery owners 'should not be politicized'
Published Friday, June 2, 2017 5:46PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 2, 2017 6:17PM EDT
China’s Ambassador to Canada says the jailing of two Canadian winery owners being held over an alleged customs crime “should not be politicized.”
Shaye Lu told CTV’s Power Play on Friday that John Chang and Lan-Fed (Allison) Lu have been imprisoned for “a simple commercial smuggling issue” and he criticized the media attention.
“Now this case is already coming into a judicial process,” Lu added. “Let the courts do their work and we can wait for the results of the trial.”
The owners of Lulu Island Winery in Richmond, B.C. were arrested in Shanghai in March 2016 while visiting suppliers and agents, and accused of under-reporting the value of wine they export to China.
Chang has been jailed since then, while Lu was released in January on the condition she not leave China. Her Canadian passport was confiscated and she must report regularly to authorities.
Amy Chang, the couple’s daughter, has met with the leaders of Canada’s NDP and Conservative Party to plead her case.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland expressed “deep concern” about the situation in daily question period in the House of Commons on Thursday and said she too would meet Chang.
"It has been raised repeatedly at a high level by the government and officials,” Freeland said in a response to a question from Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.
“Our officials are in contact with Mr. Chang, Ms. Lu, and their family,” Freeland added.
Chang has said she wants Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to raise her parents' detainment and imprisonment.
"If this is an issue regarding undervaluation, then they can let me know and we can deal with this diplomatically," she said.
"There's no need to have Canadian citizens detained overseas and imprisoned,” she added.
China does not recognize dual nationality. According to the family, China recognizes their Canadian citizenship.
With files from The Canadian Press