“Chinese judges are classified as civil servants in China’s Civil Service Law. A Chinese ‘court’ is simply a low-level administrative organ of the CCP.”

The sordid prison experiences of Canada’s “two Michaels” during their more than 800 days in custody in China illustrates well why the rule of law and independent judges/prosecutors are essential to good governance.

Immediately after the Canadian authorities arrested Huawei chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou in the wake of an American government extradition application in 2018, the ”two Michaels” – Kovrig and Spavor – were detained in China for allegedly stealing state secrets.

Some ask whether they have been tortured, and while torture in China’s “judicial” system is described by leading human rights organisations as “routine”, “endemic”, and “systemic”, it is unlikely the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) medieval torture equipment has been applied to these two accused.  On the other hand, many who are familiar with conditions in Chinese prison and detention centres say incarceration is torture in and of itself.

Last week’s [18 March 2021] secret two-hour trial of Michael Spavor occurred suddenly in Dandong near North Korea. No foreign diplomats, including those of Canada, were allowed to enter the court. Precisely the same phenomenon has now [22 March 2021] occurred at the trial of Michael Kovrig in Beijing.

Why were the court hearings for the two men so brief?