Published: Sat, May 18, 2019

China formally arrests Canadian ex-diplomat, businessman

China formally arrests Canadian ex-diplomat, businessman

The Canadian government is calling out Beijing after Chinese authorities formally arrested two Canadians, accusing them of crimes related to national security.

After holding Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in an undisclosed locations since December, China's confirmation of the formal charges came just as the US government all but banned American companies from doing business with Chinese tech giant Huawei, a move that could badly cripple a firm considered by China to be a national symbol of industrial prowess.

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".

"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", Trudeau told reporters in Paris on Thursday.

"We will continue to defend these Canadians and we will continue to say clearly to China that its actions are unacceptable", he added.

The move came days after Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer for Chinese tech giant Huawei, was arrested at the Vancouver airport on a US warrant on charges of violating USA sanctions on Iran. According to the Canadian government, Chinese law allows for people to be held for 13-and-a-half months after an official arrest before charges are filed.

The measures were in accordance with the law, Lu said, and Beijing hoped Canada "will not make irresponsible remarks" about law enforcement and judicial proceedings in China.

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.

Each man had a visit from Canadian diplomats earlier this week, just prior to the formal arrests.

China is demanding Meng's immediate release and has called on the United States to withdraw the extradition request and stop the "unreasonable suppression" of Chinese companies. Kovrig also holds Hungarian citizenship. Having been formally arrested, the two are likely to face trial soon.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei's founder, is accused of lying to banks about the company's dealings with Iran in violation of US trade sanctions. She made her latest court appearance last week as she fights extradition - a process that could take months or even years.

She was ordered to wear an electronic anklet and hand over her passports after being released on bail in mid-December a year ago.

Meng Wanzhou, seen here as she leaves her home in Vancouver last week, was arrested in Canada at the request of the U.S.

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

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