Monday, September 04, 2006

Unpublished Letter to the Editor of the Toronto Sun Newspaper About Peter Worthington's Column on the Celil Case

Re: Curious Case of Canuck Abroad August 31

Mr. Worthington completely misses the point of the Celil case. Mr. Celil does not, as Worthington asserts, enjoy "dual Chinese and Canadian citizenship." Under China's Nationality Law, dual nationality is not allowed. Chinese citizenship is automatically voided by the acquisition of citizenship of another country. Whether Mr. Celil is guilty of any crimes or not is beside the point. Many Canadians have been convicted of offences in China, most of them connected to drugs or financial fraud, and languish in Chinese prisons. The Canadian Government does not maintain the position that Canadians can violate the laws of China with impunity. But by the Vienna Convention within 48 hours of arrest of a foreign national, the embassy must be informed, information about the basis for the arrest given, access to the accused by the consular officials arranged, and notice of the trial be given so that the accused's embassy can observe the proceedings and protest any miscarriage of justice. There is no question that Mr. Celil is as Canadian as any other Canadian. If these fundamental rights of his Canadian citizenship are denied Mr. Celil, then they can be denied any other Canadian. That is why the imperative principle of Canadian consular access to Huseyincan Celil is so critical.

The rest of Worthington's misinformed racist twaddle about the Celil family and Uyghurs in general is not worthy of response, but his lack of respect for the sanctity of our Canadian citizenship and passport is really beyond the pale.

Charles Burton
St. Catharines

1 comment:

羽之助 said...

Ugh, the Sun. Hope your letter gets published and Celil doesn't get himself executed before anything is done.

Half-happy, half-disappointed that you haven't wrote about the "Chinabounder" blog incident at all.