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China debunks Canada's 'arbitrary detention' claim

By ZHOU JIN | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-09-03 07:01
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Flags of Canada and China are placed for the first China-Canada economic and financial strategy dialogue in Beijing, on Nov 12, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

China opposed and condemned Canada on Thursday for shifting the blame onto Beijing over the cases of two Canadians, and urged Ottawa to stop misleading the public.

Canadian nationals Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were detained by the Chinese government on suspicion of engaging in activities that endangered China's national security in December 2018.

Spavor was sentenced to 11 years in prison in August for espionage and illegal provision of State secrets, while Kovrig's espionage trial concluded in March but the verdict has yet to be announced.

As the two Canadians were arrested days after Canadian police detained Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, the Canadian side kept viewing China's moves as revenge for Meng's arrest.

"Meng's case is entirely different from those involving Spavor and Kovrig," Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a daily news conference.

He added that Canada "ignored the political plot of the US"-and that Meng did not violate any Canadian laws-and it insisted on acting as an accomplice in the "political persecution of Chinese citizens by the US".

On the other hand, he said, Canada has sensationalized the isolated cases of the two Canadian citizens and falsely accused China of "arbitrary detention" and "coercion".

As for the two Canadians, the Global Times newspaper cited relevant sources as saying that Spavor had taken photos and images of Chinese military equipment, which were State secrets, and provided them to people outside China, and he was a "key informant" for Kovrig, who was a former Canadian diplomat.

According to the Global Times, between 2017 and 2018, Kovrig entered China under the guise of a businessman, gathering undisclosed information related to China's national security through his associates in Beijing, Shanghai, Jilin and other places. He wrote analytical reports on the information, which included second-tier State secrets and intelligence.

The disclosed information showed that the evidence of their crimes is ironclad, Wang said, adding that the Chinese judiciary handled the cases in accordance with the law.

Their legal rights are fully protected, he said, adding that relevant authorities have also provided humanitarian treatment to them within the scope of the law.

Canada should face up to these problems, stop smearing China, release Meng and ensure her safe return to China, Wang said.

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