World News

Trudeau says China's arrests of two Canadians 'unacceptable'

Trudeau says China's arrests of two Canadians 'unacceptable'

The two were formally arrested on May 16 and face charges related to state security.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the two detained Canadian citizens, namely Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, have been formally arrested by Chinese authorities.

"According to Chinese prosecutors' approval, Michael Kovrig, due to being suspected of crimes of gathering state secrets and intelligence for foreign (forces), and Michael Spavor, for being suspected of crimes of stealing and illegally providing state secrets for foreign (forces), have in recent days been approved for arrest according to law", Mr Lu said. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says they are not ruling out similar action for Canada.

Meng remains free on a 10-million-Canadian-dollar (7.4-million-US-dollar) bail and resides at one of the mansions in Vancouver she co-owns with her husband. Nor did Lu give an exact date of their formal arrests.

"Today I can still responsibly reassure you that the Chinese procuratorial organ handles the case in accordance with law".

China has said it is fully guaranteeing both men's lawful rights.

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer and deputy chair of Huawei as well as a daughter of Huawei's founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Vancouver, British Columbia on December 1, 2018, at the request of US law enforcement authorities.

Both Canadians have a long history of working in China.

More news: Violence overshadows Sudan's transition push

Kevin Garratt, a Canadian who was detained for almost two years in China, said Kovrig and Spavor are likely "going through a lot of fear right now".

Canada's government denounced the move.

In a statement issued hours after Beijing's announcement, Canada's Foreign Ministry said Ottawa "strongly condemns" the "arbitrary arrest" of the two men and demanded their immediate release. "There is no evidence that has been produced that would indicate any validity to the allegations made against them". He is a senior adviser for the International Crisis Group, which researches peaceful solutions to global conflicts.

Kovrig and Spavor are being held in detention facilities and have yet to be granted access to lawyers. "His work was completely transparent and out in the open for all to see, including for Chinese officials". For months, the pair have been held in a detention facility without access to a lawyer and been granted a single consular visit per month.

"Assuming the USA export ban on Huawei remains unresolved for the next 12-24 months, we highly doubt if China would stick to its timetable of building 5G aggressively", it wrote.

When asked if he'd call Chinese President Xi Jinping personally to protest the arrests, Trudeau said Canada is focused on "things that are going to help the Canadians being detained".

While Canada says China has made no specific link between the detentions of the two men and Ms Meng's arrest, experts and former diplomats say they have no doubt it is using their cases to pressure Canada. Administrative restrictions have also impeded imports of Canadian pork, peas and soybeans.