Ambassador John McCallum says travel to China safe for most Canadians


OTTAWA — Canada’s ambassador to Beijing says he believes it is safe for most Canadians to travel to China, despite the current rocky relations between China and Canada.

But John McCallum says anyone who has had a past run-in with Chinese authorities may want to think twice about visiting the country.

McCallum made the comments as he arrived today to field questions from an all-party parliamentary committee about the situation involving three Canadians in China.

That meeting is being held in private after Liberal MPs on the committee raised concerns about the sentitive nature of what McCallum might have to say.

And McCallum told reporters there’s good reason to talk behind closed doors, saying he expects to tell the committee some things that the families of detained Canadians Michal Spavor and Michael Kovrig might not want aired publicly.

On Wednesday, McCallum revealed that Spavor and Kovrig were each being interrogated by authorities for up to four hours a day.

He also credited the Trudeau government’s efforts to get allies to rally in support of Canada’s position, but said Canada needs to engage senior Chinese leaders and persuade them that what they are doing is not good for China’s image in the world.

China detained Kovrig and Spavor last month and recently imposed a death sentence on Robert Schellenberg of British Columbia for drug smuggling after Canada arrested a top executive from Chinese tech firm Huawei, at the request of U-S authorities.

The Canadian Press