Canadian national Kevin Garratt has been deported back home after over two years imprisonment in China. The crime for this prisoner of conscience? Mr. Garratt and his wife Julia Dawn Garratt ran a coffee shop near the North Korean border, engaged in a Christian food mission for North Korean refugees. The Canadian couple was arrested on “suspicion of stealing and spying to obtain state secrets.” Their detention was part of a state crackdown in late 2014 on Christian missions operating near the North Korean border.
Ms. Garratt returned home on bail after a few months, and Mr. Garratt was kept in China until last Thursday (15 September 2016). Now he’s home, but not quite out of trouble. Mr. Garratt will still be tried by the Chinese state on espionage charges.
Arresting and prosecuting foreign nationals is reckless. China’s paranoia precipitates consequences. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the Garratt’s case during a trip to China earlier this month. This issue strained official Canadian relations and certainly public opinion. Arguably, political arrests are consistent with China’s desire to flex its muscles. But where does the aggression end? World peace, or WWIII?