Chinese Ambassador to Canada clarifies nature of cases concerning ‘Two Michaels’
Published: Dec 10, 2020 03:07 PM

Photo: Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor (right)

Chinese Ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu has clarified some major issues of concern after Western media and politicians, including the Canadian Prime Minister and foreign minister, called the arrest of Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor "coercive diplomacy" in response to the detention of Huawei's Meng Wanzhou. 

The embassy also expressed strong opposition to claims from Canadian officials that the two Canadians had been arbitrarily detained. 

In an article published in the Canadian magazine Ottawa Life, Cong clarified three major issues of concern, including whether the two Canadians had been "arbitrarily detained" by China, whether they were facing harsh treatment in China and whether China pursued a policy of "coercive diplomacy."

The two Canadian citizens were arrested and prosecuted by the competent authorities of China in accordance with law on suspicion of committing crimes of undermining China's national security, the Chinese ambassador said. Based on clear facts and sufficient evidence, Chinese judicial organs handled the cases independently in accordance with the law, he noted. 

After some Canadian media outlets claimed that Kovrig and Spavor had been subjected to harsh treatment such as sleep deprivation, the Chinese ambassador clarified that they have been treated just like other detainees of the same kind, and since the COVID-19 outbreak, Chinese authorities have taken concrete measures within the scope of legal provisions to provide better treatment while arranging for officials of the Canadian Embassy to China to conduct consular visits via video link to them. 

Dominic Barton, Canada's ambassador to China, recently spoke to the two Canadians via video, and said they are both physically and mentally healthy, according to Canadian media reports. 

The Chinese Embassy to Canada expressed strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition on Thursday to Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne's claim that the two Canadians "were arbitrarily detained in China".

The embassy emphasized that the lawful rights of the two men have been guaranteed and this is not "arbitrary detention" at all, and Canada's s attempt to pressure China by using "megaphone diplomacy" or ganging up is totally futile. 

On the issue of the detention of Meng by the Canadian authorities on behalf of the US, both Cong and the embassy reiterated that it is a severe political incident and Canada has wrongly held her for two years, leaving China-Canada relations in serious difficulty. Chinese authorities and officials also emphasized Meng's innocence, as more suspicions emerged during her case in Canadian court. 

This week, as Meng returned to the courtroom to continue the legal fight against her extradition to the US, irregularities emerged regarding her arrest, according to documents obtained by the Global Times related to the legal proceedings. For example, Canadian police officer Ross Lundie testified that as a Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) sergeant, he obtained Meng's electronic devices and passcodes to gather evidence for the FBI. His testimony also showed how the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), RCMP and FBI cooperated with each other and categorically intruded on Meng's constitutional rights. 

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the US Justice Department is discussing a deal with Meng that would allow her to return to China from Canada, but she has to admit to some of the allegations against her. However, some legal experts urged Meng and Huawei not to be framed by US authorities