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China claims 2 detained Canadians stole state secrets ahead of Huawei exec’s extradition hearing

China claims 2 detained Canadians stole state secrets ahead of Huawei exec’s extradition hearing
China is accusing Canadian citizen Michael Kovrig of stealing state secrets obtained from another Canadian, Michael Spavor. The news comes days before Canada weighs in on Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s US extradition request.

The Chinese government’s case against Kovrig was laid out by the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission on Monday, which described the update as a “major development.

Kovrig's alleged behavior of gathering and stealing secrets and other intelligence for a foreign power has seriously violated Chinese laws,” the statement reads. Spavor, a businessman, had allegedly been providing Kovrig with “sensitive information and other intelligence” since 2017.

Also on rt.com China insists detained Canadians ‘without a doubt’ broke security laws

Kovrig and Spavor were both arrested in December shortly after Meng's detention in Canada pending extradition to the US, leading many to suspect the two had been targeted in reprisal. Monday’s accusation coming just two days shy of Meng’s hearing seems to add more weight to the theory the arrests are related.

Meng was arrested in Canada after Washington accused her of circumventing sanctions against Iran, forcing Canadian authorities to decide whether she would be extradited to stand trial.

Meanwhile, Huawei’s chief financial officer is beginning her own legal process against the Canadian government, accusing the border patrol and police of unlawful search and interrogation during her arrest. Also on Monday, the New York Times reported that Huawei itself is also planning litigation, filing charges against the US over the government’s ban on the company's products at federal agencies.

The arrests took place against a background of mounting tension between Washington and Beijing, as trade tariffs imposed by US President Donald Trump developed into a tit-for-tat economic struggle between the rival superpowers. Just last month, Trump extended a temporary trade war truce which was scheduled to end on March 1 citing “substantial progress” in talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Responding to the developments, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was "very concerned" by the position taken by China on the two detained Canadians and said it was "unfortunate" that China was moving ahead with "arbitrary detentions."

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