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Canada & the #TwoMichaels Case: Considerations for the Future

This week I spoke with the #TorontoStar about efforts by leading figures in Canada's legal system to persuade the Minister of Justice to withdraw support for the extradition of #MengWanZhou:

"In Seattle, Amy Sommers, a retired international lawyer who advised Fortune 500 companies in China, said Beijing has been trying to figure out ways it can exert its influence around the world."

Acceding to pressure to withdraw from the case "will put a bullseye on the backs of foreign nationals who are present in China anytime their governments seek to take a position that is anathema to how China views its interests.”

As I later expanded on #Twitter, in the post-1978 reform & opening up era, China has often used experimentation and test cases to develop efficacious tools for achieving policy aims. A notable early example was the secret efforts of villagers in Xiaogang, Anhui Province to rent out parcels of collectively-owned agricultural land to individual farmers. The success of that experiment (initially unlawful, but later validated) led to widespread reform in how agricultural land use rights were allocated.

More recently, in the foreign relations context, China's use of test cases has taken a turn that has serious implications for open and responsive-to-stakeholder-input democracies:

Seen against this background, there is danger for Canada's judicial autonomy and integrity, as well as to other foreign parties present in China, if Canada views the #TwoMichaels case in a vacuum and accedes to the demand it withdraw support of Meng's extradition.

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