Detained Canadians in China met with government officials
Michael Kovrig (left) and Michael Spavor (right) are seen in this composite image.
TORONTO -- The two Canadians detained in China have recently met with with consular officials, Global Affairs Canada confirmed on Monday.
The federal agency said in a news release that officials met with Michael Spavor on Monday and Michael Kovrig last Friday. Both men have been detained for more than 10 months.
Global Affairs would not provide any further details, citing the Privacy Act.
“The Canadian government remains deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of these two Canadians since December 2018 and continues to call for their immediate release,” the agency wrote in a news release.
Spavor has met with consular officials 12 times since he was detained, while Kovrig has had 14 such meetings. Global Affairs said these meetings are generally conducted to assess the health of the detainees, to provide legal advice and to provide a link between the detainees and their loved ones, among other purposes.
Chinese officials detained Spavor and Kovrig on Dec. 10, 2018, just 10 days after the RCMP arrested Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou at the request of the United States.
China has accused Spavor of stealing and illegally sharing state secrets, while Kovrig is accused of gathering state secrets for other countries. Canadian officials have denied those allegations and instead say the detentions are retaliation for Meng’s arrest.
Reports suggest both detainees have been denied access to lawyers and family members since their detainment, meanwhile Meng is free on bail pending an extradition hearing in January.
She and Huawei face charges of conspiracy, fraud and obstruction in the U.S.
Global Affairs notes several countries and international organizations support Canada in the matter, including Australia, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, the United States, the European Union, the G7 and NATO.
Tensions between Canada and China have also spilled into the global marketplace since Meng’s arrest as China has banned Canadian exports of canola and is increasing its inspections of some Canadian meats.