Harper wants action on Burlington man in Chinese prison

TORONTO - The prime minister is angry and wants to know why there was no Canadian diplomat present at a recent court appearance for a Burlington man imprisoned in China.

A published report today quotes a senior government official saying that diplomats in both Beijing and Ottawa fumbled the ball when Huseyin Celil appeared in court last week.

Stephen Harper is insisting that Canadian diplomats in China attend future court proceedings, which opened Friday in the provincial city of Urumqi.

Diplomats say they have been frustrated by the fact that China will not recognize Celil's Canadian citizenship.

But the official says a Canadian representative should have been present for the opening of the trial as a signal of how seriously the Harper government is taking the case.

Celil, a former imam at a mosque in Hamilton, has been jailed at an unknown location in China for almost eight months for alleged ties to terror groups.

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