B.C. winery owners facing life in Chinese prison for smuggling

B.C. winery owners facing life in Chinese prison for smuggling
  1. B.C. winery owners facing life in Chinese prison for smuggling
    A B.C. husband and wife are facing a possible life sentence in China for allegedly under-reporting the value of wine they export to that country- and the Canadian government is under fire for not doing more to help them. Their trial starts May 26th, and supporters are demanding Ottawa come to their…
    British Columbia

A B.C. husband and wife are facing 10 years to life imprisonment in China for allegedly under-reporting the value of wine they export to that country. And the Canadian government is under fire for not doing more to help them.

Chinese customs officials in Shanghai have charged John Chang, 62, and his wife Allison Lu with smuggling. Their trial is scheduled to begin May 26.

Both have been under arrest since March 2016. Chang has been in jail since then. Lu was held until January, but was forced to surrender her passport and is barred from leaving China.

Push for PM intervention

Lawyers and politicians lining up behind the couple describe their detention as outrageous, excessive and a gross violation of personal liberty and security.

Lulu Island winery owner John Chang exports 80 percent of his product to China

Lulu Island winery owner John Chang is facing trial in China for allegedly under-representing the value of his wine. (Lulu Island Winery)

They're pushing the federal Liberal government to intervene immediately, claiming Chang's physical and mental health is deteriorating behind bars.

Chang and Lu operate Lulu Island Winery. According to the company web site, it is the largest winery in Richmond, B.C., producing "table wines, fruit wines and…ice wines."

Before the couple's arrest, the winery claimed its exports accounted "for almost 20 per cent of all Canadian wine exported to China."

Last July, Chinese state-run media showed boxes of Lulu Island wine being examined by customs officials, and reported "a certain brand of ice wine in Canada" had been declared at around 10 Yuan a bottle (under $2 Cdn), when it was worth many times that amount.

On Friday, Gerry Ritz, Conservative international trade critic, raised the case during question period in the House of Commons. 

Assault on rights, says MP

"The arrest of Mr. Chang and Ms. Lu for a fabricated customs violation is an assault on their basic rights, a breach of China's international trade obligations and China's own customs laws," Ritz told fellow MPs.

Ritz called on the prime minister to intervene, but Justin Trudeau was away on a tour of B.C.

In his absence, Omar Alghabra, parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs, responded.

"We are following this case very closely," Alghabra said. "We are in constant contact with Chinese local authorities … we will not stop until we resolve this matter."

Chinese customs officers inspect boxes labelled with Lulu Island Winery logo

Chinese customs officers inspect boxes and bottles labelled with the Lulu Island Winery logo in photo supplied by Chinese state-controlled media (Legaldaily.com.cn)

The couple's daughter, Amy Chang, 23, has been running Lulu Winery since her parents were arrested.

"This has been a very difficult and emotional year for me," Chang wrote in a May 19 press release. "As a Canadian company and as Canadian citizens, we have let the Canadian government take the lead on resolving this issue." She added the allegations "are without merit."

On Parliament Hill, Ritz claimed the Trudeau Liberals are mishandling the case by treating it as a consular issue, instead of a serious trade dispute.

"The family and the Changs d…

  1. $10,000 for one putt

    Castanet.net - British Columbia
    05.23 / 06:59 www.castanet.net
    There's a saying in golf, you drive for show, and you putt for dough. And, just as the young men on the Mackenzie Tour PGA Tour Canada know good things start with a good drive, so too does the professional sales staff at Kelowna Chrysler. When the Mackenzie Tour returns to Gallagher's Canyon…
  2. Metro Vancouver warns people not to do the Grouse Grind; people do it anyway

    Cbc.ca - British Columbia
    05.23 / 06:06 www.cbc.ca
    The tweet from Metro Vancouver was polite, but…
  3. Prominent music executive plans to take Pemberton Music Festival organizers to court

    Globalnews.ca - British Columbia
    05.23 / 03:29 globalnews.ca
    A high-powered U.S. music executive is taking aim at organizers who cancelled the 2017 Pemberton Music Festival, leaving ticketholders out in the…
  4. Airlifted after bike accident

    Castanet.net - British Columbia
    05.23 / 03:09 www.castanet.net
    A man was airlifted to hospital Monday after a mountain biking accident. The man, believed to be in his 60s, was biking the trails at Myra Canyon when a stick went through the bikes front wheel. According to witnesses at the scene, the man went over the handle bars and hit his chin. Two…
  5. Crews rescue multiple hikers as snowy condition persist on North Shore

    Bc.ctvnews.ca - British Columbia
    05.23 / 01:57 bc.ctvnews.ca
    Rescuers expects more people to venture into the wilderness now that the weather has…
  6. Coquihalla Highway closed during busy day of traffic

    Merrittherald.com - British Columbia
    05.23 / 01:54 www.merrittherald.com
      Highway 5 between Merritt and Hope is likely to remain closed until midnight, according to a tweet from VSA Highway Maintenance. Victoria Day is one of the busiest days of the year for the route with as many as 25,000 vehicles travelling on the stretch of highway, stated a press release from the Ministry […] The post Coquihalla Highway closed during busy day of traffic appeared first on Merritt…
  7. Storm brewing

    Castanet.net - British Columbia
    05.23 / 01:49 www.castanet.net
    Okanagan Lake is nearing the flood mark and could reach historic levels. Above normal temperatures on Monday are accelerating the upper level snowpack melt, causing high streamflows. Strong winds are expected for Tuesday evening which will create more risk for lake front properties due to…
  8. Lumby flood evacuees frustrated by lack of communication

    Globalnews.ca - British Columbia
    05.23 / 01:45 globalnews.ca
    “We need to know when we can get back in and when they are going to let us know these t…
  9. Absentee ballot, recount results trickle in across B.C. following tight election

    Globalnews.ca - British Columbia
    05.23 / 01:21 globalnews.ca
    Counting is underway for thousands of absentee ballots that could determine the results of B.C.'s tight…
  10. Nelson could see flooding if Kootenay Lake reaches 1754 feet

    Rosslandtelegraph.com - British Columbia
    05.23 / 01:17 rosslandtelegraph.com
    Boundary Sentinel The Nelson Daily The Nelson Daily Boundary Sentinel read…
  11. Coquihalla Highway near Merritt closed all day due to 'dangerous goods fire'

    Bc.ctvnews.ca - British Columbia
    05.23 / 00:19 bc.ctvnews.ca
    A transport trailer carrying pool chemicals caught fire early Monday…
  12. Rick Hansen celebrates 30 years of completing the Man in Motion tour

    Cbc.ca - British Columbia
    05.23 / 00:07 www.cbc.ca
    On May 22, 1987, Rick Hansen completed his Man in Motion World Tour in…
  13. NDP lead grows to 13 votes following recount in Courtenay-Comox

    Cbc.ca - British Columbia
    05.23 / 00:07 www.cbc.ca
    The B.C. NDP's lead has grown to 13 votes following a recount in the riding of Courtenay-Comox. NDP candidate Ronna Rae Leonard now leads 10,056 to 10,043 over Liberal candidate Jim…
  14. Osoyoos Medieval Faire offers much more to see this year

    Osoyoostimes.com - British Columbia
    05.23 / 00:04 www.osoyoostimes.com
    Many people were at Desert Park on Saturday for the first day of the Osoyoos Medieval Faire. They were treated to jousting and other horseback competitions by members of the Society of Tilt and Lance Cavalry based in Alberta. There were demonstrations of fire breathing, belly dances, musical performances, dog agility competitions and a medieval […] The post Osoyoos Medieval Faire offers much more to see this year appeared first on Osoyoos…
  15. MOTI reports Coquihalla near Merritt closed in both directions

    Rosslandtelegraph.com - British Columbia
    05.23 / 00:04 rosslandtelegraph.com
    The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure issued a traffic advisory Monday saying the Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt is closed following an incident involving a burning semi-trailer truck carrying dangerous goods. The MOTI said the highway is expected to remain closed in both directions well into the evening, and possibly overnight. The MOTI said Ministry crews and VSA Highway Maintenance are working with the Ministry of Environment, Transport Canada and a hazardous…
  16. 'Unbelievable': Dozens swarm dock where sea lion grabbed girl, despite warnings

    Cbc.ca - British Columbia
    05.22 / 23:42 www.cbc.ca
    The Steveston Fisherman's Wharf was packed with cellphone-wielding tourists and locals on…
  17. OKIB issues evac order

    Castanet.net - British Columbia
    05.22 / 23:20 www.castanet.net
    The Okanagan Indian Band has issued an evacuation order for a handful of properties situated along Okanagan Lake due to rising water. Meanwhile, the band is asking for volunteers to help with sandbags. The band declared a state of emergency on May 5 and extended the order until May 30 due to…
  18. 20,000 sandbags deployed in Penticton to combat wave surge

    Globalnews.ca - British Columbia
    05.22 / 23:17 globalnews.ca
    With warm weather and wind in the forecast, the City of Penticton is making preparations for rising lake levels and wave…
  19. Okanagan forecast

    Globalnews.ca - British Columbia
    05.22 / 23:17 globalnews.ca
    Monday, May 22, 2017  – Weather forecast update at 4pm: Enjoy sun to start on Tuesday, however a change is on deck by Tuesday afternoon with increasing cloud and breezy conditions. A cold front will sweep across Southern BC and bring the chance of showers and thundershowers starting late Tuesday and Wednesday. In its …
  20. CBC's jazziest radio program — Hot Air — celebrates 70 years

    Cbc.ca - British Columbia
    05.22 / 22:51 www.cbc.ca
    The CBC’s longest-running radio program first hit the airwaves on February 1, 1947 as a special half hour show devoted to jazz, and on May 23, 1947, Hot Air became the hour-long program it remains t…