Closed-Door Hearing of Second Canadian Charged with Espionage Begins
March 23, 2021
The espionage trial of former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig began
Monday behind closed doors in a Beijing courtroom.
Kovrig’s trial is being held just three days after another Canadian,
entrepreneur Michael Spavor, was put on trial in a closed door
hearing on espionage charges in the northeastern city of Dandong.
Both Kovrig and Spavor were arrested separately in December 2018
days after Canadian authorities arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief
financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies, in Vancouver on a
Diplomats from several nations, including Canada and the United
States, gathered outside the Beijing courthouse where Kovrig is
being tried. The diplomats said they have been barred from attending
the trial on what China claims are national security reasons.
trial last Friday, in which diplomats were also barred, ended
without a verdict being rendered.
The arrests of Kovrig and Spavor have plunged relations between
Ottawa and Beijing to their lowest levels in decades. Canadian Prime
Minister Justin Trudeau has denounced China’s actions as “completely
unacceptable, as is the lack of transparency around these court
Meng remains under house arrest in Vancouver as she fights the
extradition warrant from the U.S. As chief financial officer of
Huawei — one of the world’s largest manufacturers of smartphones —
Meng is accused of lying to U.S. officials about Huawei’s business
in Iran, which is under U.S. sanctions.
The U.S. has also warned other countries against using Huawei-built
products, suspecting the Chinese government of installing spyware in