China Says Detained Canadians Violated the Law; Kovrig’s Employer Says He’s Innocent

U.S. State Department Issues Travel Advisory for China Due to ‘Exit Bans’		AFP  Getty 3 Jan 2019

The United States warned its citizens Thursday they could face arbitrary action by authorities when they visit China, following the detention of two Canadians.

Thirteen Canadians have been detained in China following the arrest on December 1 of a senior executive from Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei, Ottawa said Thursday, with eight subsequently released.

In response, the Chinese government on Friday said that the United States travel warning did not hold up, citing the large number of Americans that visited the country past year.

There are approximately 200 Canadians overall who have been detained in China for a variety of alleged infractions and continue to face ongoing legal proceedings, and the number has remained relatively stable in recent years.

August 22: A NY court issues a warrant for the arrest of Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou.

January 3: In a press conference, China's prosecutor general Zhang Jun says Kovrig and Spavor "without a doubt" violated Chinese law. She faces extradition to the U.S. to face fraud charges.

As evidence, Malley says that analysts with Crisis Group were being invited to meet with Chinese officials up until the day Kovrig was arrested.




December 12: China's foreign ministry says it has no information about Kovrig, but says the organization he worked with - the International Crisis Group - was not registered in China, making its activities in the country illegal.

Lu's briefing, posted in English translation to the ministry's website, was one of two cryptic Chinese government media events that deepened the mystery surrounding the arrests of Kovrig and Spavor.

Those comments don't offer any new information for Kovrig's distressed family and friends, who still don't know why or for how long he's being detained, said Robert Malley, president of the Crisis Group. She has been released on bail and is living in an upscale Vancouver home in advance of her extradition hearing.

While Meng has had full access to lawyers and is able to see her family, Kovrig is being denied legal representation, isn't allowed to see family, and is limited to one consular visit a month, sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.

The U.S State Department has called for the release of the two Canadians, while Germany, France, the European Union and Australia have also issued supportive statements.

Earlier Thursday, a Chinese government spokesman said it was not "convenient" to discuss the allegations against Kovrig and Spavor despite an assertion by the country's top prosecutor that they broke the law.

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