China insists detained Canadians ‘without a doubt’ broke security laws
“Without a doubt, these two Canadian citizens in China violated our country’s laws and regulations, and are currently undergoing investigation according to procedure,” Prosecutor General Zhang Jun said during a briefing in Beijing.
The men, Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat now based in Hong Kong and Michael Spavor, a businessman who helped to organize tours to North Korea, were arrested by China’s security agency over three weeks ago on suspicion of harming China’s security.
Zhang said the men were being held “strictly” according to the law when asked by Reuters reporters when they would be charged, and did not elaborate further.
Kovrig and Spavor’s detention came nine days after Canadian authorities in Vancouver arrested a top executive of Chinese technology giant Huawei on December 1, at the request of the US.
Meng Wanzhou, according to US prosecutors, is accused of misleading banks about transactions to Iran, which put the institutions unwittingly in violation of sanctions imposed by Washington on Tehran. She has since been released on bail while facing extradition to the US.
While both Chinese and Canadian authorities have downplayed the notion that the men’s detentions are linked to Meng’s case, it has led to speculation that their arrest was a tit-for-tat retaliatory measure.Also on rt.com China releases Canadian from custody amid Ottawa-Beijing row
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had previously called for calm over the held men, ensuring that there would be no “stomping on a table” over the matter.
China meanwhile has reiterated their demands for Canada to drop its arrest warrant on Ms. Meng.
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