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China formally arrests 2 Canadians in case linked to Huawei

18 May 2019

China yesterday said that it has formally arrested two Canadians who have been detained for months on national security grounds.

This may sound a lot like the detention of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor late past year after Canada arrested an executive with Huawei.

"What we are always focused on is doing things that will help Canadians (who are) being detained. That will not change", Trudeau said when asked if he planned to talk to President Xi Jinping over the issue.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Thursday that Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been arrested for allegedly stealing state secrets.

"I think one of the things we see increasingly around the world is that the Chinese government is not following the same kinds of rules and principles that the large majority of democracies follow in regards to rules-based order, in regards to global relations", Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a media appearance in Paris Thursday.

"We will continue to defend these Canadians".

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Mr Spavor, who worked with North Korea, and Mr Kovrig were picked up separately, shortly after Canada arrested Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, who faces extradition to the United States.

Speaking in March, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that both Canada and the U.S. had "abused their bilateral extradition treaty and took forced actions on a Chinese citizen".

"Everything in China is done in accordance with law", Lu, the Chinese government spokesman, told reporters Thursday.

No details of the men's detention or health conditions were provided due to Canadian privacy laws, but officials said they would press for further access to both detainees.

Canada has refused China's demand to release Meng.

Canadian diplomats have been allowed to visit the two men in detention.

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Their ongoing detainment in China has led to calls inside of Canada for the country to take a tougher line with Beijing. Kovrig also holds Hungarian citizenship.

They could soon face trial, though it's not clear when that might happen.

She was arrested at Vancouver's airport in December on a US warrant and is fighting extradition on charges that she conspired to defraud global banks about Huawei's relationship with a company operating in Iran.

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.

Huawei Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou, leaves her residence to attend British Columbia Supreme Court, in Vancouver, on May 8, 2019.

Another Canadian held in China, Robert Schellenberg, was re-sentenced to death in a drug case following Meng's detention.

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China formally arrests 2 Canadians in case linked to Huawei