Labeaume was to lead a delegation at the end of March that included representatives of Québec international and his city’s tourism office. In fact, the mission was cancelled even before he had a chance to announce it, Le Soleil reports.
The decision to cancel was made on the advice of Canadian authorities, the newspaper says. The government of Canada has issued a travel advisory for China, saying “Exercise a high degree of caution,” adding “risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws; Laws and culture – death penalty, penalties for drug-related offences.”
The delegation was to visit Shanghai and Xi’an, a city that is twinned with Quebec City. The delegation was also to visit South Korea.
Relations with China have been spiralling downward since Canada arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in early December at the behest of the U.S., which wants her extradited on fraud charges related to American sanctions against Iran. The Chinese ambassador called her arrest a politically motivated “backstabbing” of a friend.
China has since detained two Canadians, including a former diplomat, accusing them of being threats to Chinese security. And earlier this week, China abruptly handed a death sentence to a third Canadian, previously convicted of drug smuggling and sentenced to 15 years in prison.