Americas, Asia - Pacific

Canada condemns formal arrest of its citizens in China

Canada calls on China to 'immediately release' Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig formally arrested in China on Thursday

Gamze Türkoğlu Oğuz  | 17.05.2019 - Update : 17.05.2019
Canada condemns formal arrest of its citizens in China


Canada has called on China to "immediately release" its two citizens, who were formally arrested by China on Thursday.

“Canada strongly condemns their arbitrary arrest as we condemned their arbitrary detention on December 10,” Canada’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday, in response to the arrests of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrik.

“We reiterate our demand that China immediately release Mr Kovrig and Mr Spavor,” the statement added.

On Thursday, China announced it officially arrested two Canadian citizens, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, who were detained by Chinese authorities late 2018.

China's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang said Spavor and Kovrig were officially arrested on stealing state secrets charges and added that China abides by rule of law.

Lu called on Canadian officials to respect the judicial system of China.

Huawei crisis

The Chinese government reacted with anger when Meng Wanzhou, Chief Financial Officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei, was detained at a Vancouver airport where she was waiting for a connecting flight en route from Hong Kong to Mexico last December.

She was arrested at the request of American officials who want her on charges of fraud, obstruction and conspiracy in connection with transgressing U.S. sanctions against Iran. Meng is the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei and the daughter of the tech giant’s founder.

Canada had said they were only carrying out the terms of their extradition treaty with the U.S.

U.S. prosecutors are attempting to extradite Meng from Canada, where she has been released on bail after being taken into custody.

The arrests of former diplomat Spavor and businessman Kovrig in China on similar charges, widely thought to be tit-for-tat response for Meng’s detention, has plunged China and Canada into a dispute.

* Writing by Vakkas Dogantekin

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