13 CANADIANS DETAINED IN CHINA
... since Chinese tech executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1. Experts question China’s claim Canadian detainees will receive fair trial
Thirteen Canadians have been detained in China since executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1, according to Global Affairs Canada.
The detentions of three of those 13 — ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig, entrepreneur Michael Spavor and teacher Sarah Mciver — were already known to the public.
Eight of the detainees, including Mciver, have returned to Canada since their arrests, Global Affairs spokesperson Guillaume Bérubé said in a statement. The other seven were not named.
Meng, chief financial officer of the Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei, was released on $10-million bail to her family’s Vancouver home on Dec. 11 to await proceedings for extradition to the U.S.
But Kovrig, Spavor and three others not named in Bérubé’s statement still remain in custody at undisclosed locations in China. Kovrig is being kept in a continuously lit room and is questioned several times daily by Chinese authorities, according to International Crisis Group, Kovrig’s employer.
China’s Foreign Ministry said in December that both Kovrig and Spavor are “suspected of engaging in activities endangering national security,” though neither have been formally charged, precluding them from being able to mount any kind of legal defence.
Canada’s foreign affairs minister, Chrystia Freeland, called their detentions “arbitrary” in a statement submitted Thursday to the Star.
China’s top prosecutor Zhang Jun said in a statement on Thursday that there is “no doubt” Kovrig and Spavor broke China’s laws, adding that the two Canadians are still under investigation.
Experts have voiced concerns about the likelihood of due process being granted to Kovrig and Spavor, arguing that Beijing courts are little more than an instrument of the state.
Guy Saint-jacques, former Canadian ambassador to China, believes the primary motivation behind the men’s detentions is political.
Former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans said Tuesday he was “totally confident” Kovrig’s detention was motivated by politics. Neither Kovrig nor ICG pose any kind of threat to China’s national security, he said. Legal system criticized. More at thestar.com/vancouver
China’s top prosecutor, Zhang Jun, said Thursday there is “no doubt” that two Canadian men detained in China violated the country’s laws. He added Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are still under investigation.