China formally arrests 2 Canadians in case linked to Huawei

Nellie Chapman
May 18, 2019

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang told a daily news briefing in Beijing on Thursday morning that Kovrig - who works for the International Crisis Group (ICG), a non-governmental organization which focuses on conflict resolution - is suspected of gathering state secrets for other countries, while Spavor is accused of stealing and illegally sharing state secrets.

Chinese officials have accused Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor with stealing state secrets for a foreign organisation, a serious allegation which in its most extreme cases can result in the death penalty.

"We hope that Canada will not make irresponsible remarks about China's own law enforcement and judicial proceedings".

China has said two Canadians who have been detained since December have been formally arrested for crimes linked to taking state secrets. They were recently arrested, according to both Chinese and Canadian officials.

Canadian diplomats have made recent consular visits to them both, it added, declining to provide further details for privacy reasons.

China is demanding Meng's immediate release and has called on the USA to withdraw the extradition request and stop the "unreasonable suppression" of Chinese companies.

"When Chinese businesses are wrongfully treated, China has the right to take measures to safeguard our legitimate and lawful rights and interests", he said.

Each man had a visit from Canadian diplomats earlier this week, just prior to the formal arrests.

Putting constraints on Huawei's supply chain could also delay its procurement of components and parts needed to help Chinese telecom operators roll out 5G in China, US brokerage Jefferies wrote in a note, unless Beijing manages to negotiate with Washington to help Huawei get out of "jail".

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Days after Meng's arrest in Vancouver, China detained Spavor and Kovrig "on suspicion of engaging in activities that harm China's state security".

Meng has been allowed to live in her Vancouver mansion, although her mobility is limited.

Ms Meng, 47, is the daughter of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's billionaire founder, Ren Zhengfei. This move will ban US companies from selling or transferring USA technology to Huawei without US government approval.

Meng, who is now on bail, faces charges of fraud related to an alleged breach of USA sanctions on Iran.

The U.S. has pressured other countries to limit their use of Huawei's technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft of information.

She was ordered to wear an electronic anklet and hand over her passports after being released on bail in mid-December on a C$10 million (S$10.2 million) bond. She has been living in a Vancouver home.

After a Canadian court pushed back a decision in Meng's case, the Chinese court also announced it would delay announcing whether Schellenberg would be put to death.

"China is moving the Canadians through its system like pawns on a chessboard, pretending that some kind of due process is being observed".

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