Consular officials in China meet with detained businessman Michael Spavor
In this image made from video taken on March 2, 2017, Michael Spavor, director of Paektu Cultural Exchange, talks during a Skype interview in Yangi, China. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP Photo)
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, March 26, 2019 1:48PM EDT
OTTAWA -- Global Affairs Canada says detained Canadian businessman Michael Spavor received a visit from consular officials in China today.
The visit comes a day after former diplomat Michael Kovrig was also paid a visit by Canadian officials.
Both men were detained in China on Dec. 10 but have not had access to lawyers nor been formally charged.
Both have been granted five visits each with consular officials since being detained, but this week's meetings are the first to take place since an anonymous report in Chinese state media accused them of conspiring to steal Chinese state secrets.
The Canadian government says their detentions are "arbitrary" and is calling for their immediate release.
About a month after they were arrested, Global Affairs warned Canadians travelling to China to do so with a "high degree of caution" because of the arbitrary application of local laws.
Global Affairs notes a number of countries back Canada's position on the matter, including the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Spain and Denmark, as well as NATO and the European Union.
Canadian officials have complained the two men are being held in retaliation for the December arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who is facing a U.S. extradition request.
Meng, who was arrested in Vancouver about 10 days before China detained Spavor and Kovrig, is free on bail pending an extradition hearing.
Consular visits typically include assessing the well-being of the men, trying to get them medical attention if needed and helping them communicate with loved ones.
Because of privacy laws, no specifics about the visit can be made public.