US Demands For 'Immediate Release' Of Two Canadians Detained By China


Former Canadian Ambassador to China Michael Kovrig is detained in China. The Huawei official was arrested after the U-S requested her extradition allegedly for violating anti-Iran sanctions.

"I will continue in the coming days, along with Canada's ambassadors around the world, to be speaking with foreign counterparts about this issue", Freeland told reporters on a conference call.

Freeland says China's detention of two Canadian citizens in apparent retaliation for the arrest of a top Chinese tech executive is a worrying precedent that has resonated with allies.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday as news of McIver's detention broke, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said one of the lessons he has learned throughout his three years in office and having to deal with complex consular issues is that every case is different and one can not use "one-size-fits-all cookie cutter approach" to all of them. "The rule of law is fundamental to all free societies; we will defend and uphold this principle".

"Even though the third person arrested is not related to the cases of the first two, people see the headlines and immediately think "a Canadian got taken", he said.

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On Thursday, news broke that Mr. Kovrig is not allowed to apply for bail or see a lawyer, faces questioning every morning, afternoon and evening, and is forbidden to turn off the lights at night.

Kovrig served as a diplomat in China until 2016 and had been working for the Crisis Group, a non-governmental agency.

The source was not authorized to speak publicly about the situation due to the sensitivity of the matter.

"The Chinese aren't going to influence the Canadian court system by whatever they do but there could be a lot of collateral damage, which could seriously potentially damage relationships in the long term", he said. Details about the other detainee, businessman Michael Spavor, who promotes exchanges with North Korea, were not available.

There is no information on Spavor, though both he and Kovrig have been visited by a Canadian consul.

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EU High Representative Federica Mogherini's spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said China's justification for the Canadians' arrest "raises concerns about legitimate research and business practices in China". "I call for them to be treated in a fair, unbiased and transparent manner", British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said.

Ottawa and Washington on Friday, December 21, stepped up pressure on Beijing, calling for the immediate release of two Canadians detained in apparent retaliation for the arrest in Vancouver of a top Chinese tech executive on a United States warrant.

In yet another statement this week, the directors of several European policy institutions in Berlin expressed "deep concern" about the detained Canadians.

"This is clearly a hard moment in our relationship with China".

In August, Saudi Arabia expelled Canada's ambassador to the kingdom and withdrew its own ambassador after Canada's foreign ministry tweeted support for an arrested Saudi activist. "This is about the rule of law".

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