China charges two Canadians with spying in Huawei-linked case

Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor will be charged with espionage China has announced

Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor will be charged with espionage China has announced

Trudeau vowed to continue to "put pressure on the Chinese government to cease the arbitrary detention of these two Canadian citizens who are being held for no other reason than (that) the Chinese government is disappointed with the independent proceedings of the Canadian judiciary".

"We have developed a certain expertise in what has worked to get Canadians home in very hard circumstances over the past years", Trudeau said. "Over the past years, we've had a number of successes in liberating Canadians", he said at a press conference in Chelsea, Que.

The announcements come as Ottawa continues its review of Huawei's role in Canada's 5G networks over security concerns due to suspicions about the company's relationship with China's government.

It added that the legal rights of the two men were "fully guaranteed".

"Using arbitrary detention as a tool to achieve political goals, worldwide or domestic, is something that is of concern not just to Canada but to all our allies, who have been highlighting that this is not acceptable behaviour in the global community because they are all anxious about China engaging in the same kinds of pressure tactics with them", he said.

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Two separate notices published by the Supreme People's Procuratorate on Friday said the two Canadians have been formally prosecuted by branches in Beijing and Dandong, with their respective cases entering a phase of "legal review".

This week, it was announced that Kovrig and Spavor are now facing charges. CCTV, a state-owned broadcaster controlled by the Communist regime in Beijing, read the charges live in a national broadcast. Kovrig and Spavor are being held at an undisclosed location and up to now, have been denied access to lawyers or family members.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters in Beijing earlier that the circumstances of the cases were "particularly serious", while continuing to decline to provide details on the allegations.

The charges mean a formal trial can begin.

Trudeau said it's a "terrible shame" that China has tied the Spavor and Kovrig cases to the December 2018 Vancouver arrest of Meng Wanzhou, a top executive at Chinese tech giant Huawei.

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The daughter of Huawei's founder was arrested at the request of United States authorities who want her on fraud charges related to trade with Iran.

In May this year, a court in Canada ruled that proceedings to extradite Meng to the United States could go ahead.

They argue Meng's statements provided the bank with "the material facts it needed to know in order to assess whether there was any risk to HSBC in continuing to provide banking services to Huawei, including processing USA dollar transactions related to Huawei's commerce in Iran".

"They have made a decision to add pressure on the Canadian government by formally proceeding with this trial", he said in an interview with CBC News.

He said Chinese judicial authorities will handle the matter according to the law.

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He said, to this point, Canada has followed a policy of "appeasement" with China that has proven fruitless.

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