Playing it straight is not enough to help Ottawa. Beijing has warned it faces ‘grave consequences’ over the Huawei case
On first sight, Canada is caught in a clash between two rhinos. Unfortunately for Ottawa, the truth is probably worse. If Beijing charged straight at Washington, it would risk being badly gouged. Instead, it seems to be redirecting aggression in a threat display and Ottawa is the unlucky object getting thrashed.
Chinese state media report that two Canadians have been separately detained on suspicion of “engaging in activities that harm China’s national security”, days after Beijing warned that the arrest of a powerful Chinese Huawei executive in Vancouver would have “grave consequences”. Observers, including two former Canadian ambassadors to China, have already concluded that this is retaliation. China will not concede any link to the Huawei case. But the timing, rhetoric from state media, and the fact that a Canadian couple was detained in similar circumstances, all lend heft to the assumption.