Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has asked for President Donald Trump’s help, at the G-20 meeting in Japan, to get the People’s Republic of China to release the Canadian hostages that the PRC kidnapped in retaliation for Canada’s detaining a PRC company executive for criminal investigation. Trump has agreed.
Gerard Gayou suggested in his piece at the link,
Mr Trump may worry that challenging Mr Xi on political prisoners would jeopardize a trade deal, but pressing China on the rule of law should be a priority.
Indeed. Rule of law—as opposed to the PRC’s rule by law—is critical to many of the sorts of things Trump is looking for in a trade deal with the PRC: things like intellectual property protection, an end to the extortion the PRC applies to obtain proprietary technologies from foreign companies wishing to do business in the PRC, an end to the PRC’s demands for back doors into companies’ software, etc.
Absent rule of law, as the PRC demonstrated as recently as some few weeks ago when it walked away from commitments it had made during the then-trade negotiations, the PRC’s word on any trade deal will be largely worthless.