A week has now passed since my article “Why Celil doesn’t stand a chance” was published in the Taipei Times (see “The forgotten Canadian,” April 28 below). Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay has done his visit to Beijing, where, as he had said prior to leaving Ottawa, he “raised” the issue with the Chinese authorities and in return received a healthy dose of propaganda to the effect that Celil had been treated humanely while in jail. As I predicted in my article, little more has happened since, and MacKay, who continued on to South Korea to talk trade and pressed Seoul to life its ban on Canadian beef, seemed content with the “assurances” he had received concerning the jailed Canadian. Equally sad, a mere day after MacKay’s talks in Beijing and already the news wires had abandoned Celil, as did the Canadian media. The Canadian embassy in Beijing’s Web site, for its part, did not carry a single item on the issue, aside from the mention, prior to the visit, that the foreign minister intended to raise the issue.
Meanwhile — and perhaps more encouragingly — my story has appeared on a number of Web sites (one dedicated to freeing Celil, another calling for a boycott of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and the Uyghur American Association), and the Voice of America interview that I did on April 27 has been carried by at least two dozen Chinese-language Web sites in Taiwan, the US and Canada.
Hopefully things will change. But I strongly doubt it.