China Formally Charges 2 Canadians with
Stealing State Secrets
May 16, 2019
China says two Canadian citizens who have been in detention since late
last year have been formally charged with stealing state secrets, a move
that is expected to further increase tension between the two countries.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang announced the arrests of Michael
Kovrig and Michael Spavor on Thursday in Beijing during a regular press
briefing. Lu said the arrests were made in accordance with Chinese law.
Lu said China hopes that Ottawa "will not make irresponsible remarks"
about the country's judicial system.
In a statement issued hours after Beijing's announcement, Canada's
Foreign Ministry said Ottawa "strongly condemns" the "arbitrary arrest"
of the two men and demanded their immediate release.
and Spavor were detained separately Dec. 10 on suspicion of "engaging in
activities that endanger the national security of China." The move came
days after Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer for Chinese tech
giant Huawei, was arrested at the Vancouver airport on a U.S. warrant on
charges of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, is under house arrest
awaiting possible extradition to the U.S.
Canada has refused China's demand to release Meng.
Kovrig once served Canada as a diplomat to Beijing. He is a senior
adviser for the International Crisis Group, which researches peaceful
solutions to global conflicts. Spavor is a businessman and director of
an exchange group that arranges sports and educational exchanges with
Another Canadian citizen sentenced to 15 years in prison on drug charges
in China now faces the death penalty.
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