A person holds a sign with photographs of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been detained in China since December, 2018, as people gather for a rally in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020. China is defending the way it has handled the cases of two Canadians who have been detained in the country for more than two years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A person holds a sign with photographs of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been detained in China since December, 2018, as people gather for a rally in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Aug. 16, 2020. China is defending the way it has handled the cases of two Canadians who have been detained in the country for more than two years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

As trials loom, China says case of two Michaels handled ‘in accordance with the law’

The two men, known to many around the world simply as ‘the two Michaels,’ were detained in December 2018

China is defending the way it has handled the cases of two Canadians who have been detained in the country for more than two years.

Michael Spavor is scheduled to appear in court on Friday, while Michael Kovrig’s hearing is slated to take place Monday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian insists the cases have been handled in accordance with the law, as well as the rights of the two Michaels.

Canada disagrees: Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau calls their detention “arbitrary” and accuses China of a lack of transparency.

Garneau says Canada learned of the hearings only Wednesday, on the eve of today’s high-level U.S.-China meeting in Alaska.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to bring up the two Michaels, who have been in custody since Canada arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in December 2018.

“Chinese judicial organs handle cases independently in accordance with the law and fully guarantee the lawful rights of the individuals concerned,” Zhao told a media briefing early today.

He also insisted China has respected the terms of two key agreements: the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the China-Canada Consular Agreement.

And he denied speculation that the timing of the hearings was tied to the Alaska meetings.

“It is not linked to China-U.S. high-level strategic dialogue,” Zhao said.

Garneau said Canada is working “tirelessly” to secure the release of the two men, and has asked for continued consular access as well as the opportunity to attend the hearings.

“Canadian officials will continue to provide consular support to these men and their families during this unacceptable ordeal.”

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that China will use the meeting to ask the U.S. to lift sanctions imposed by the former Trump administration on certain Chinese nationals and entities, including Huawei.

The two men, known to many around the world simply as “the two Michaels,” were detained in December 2018, just days after police in Vancouver arrested Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of the company’s founder.

Meng was detained at the behest of the U.S. Justice Department, which is seeking her extradition to face fraud and conspiracy charges linked to what prosecutors say was an elaborate effort to evade American sanctions against Iran.

Critics and allies alike have described their detention as retribution for Canada’s role in detaining Meng, currently at the centre of an ongoing extradition hearing in Vancouver.

Blinken and President Joe Biden recently joined the roster of world leaders who have spoken up on behalf of Kovrig and Spavor, part of an ongoing reset of Canada-U.S. relations in the post-Trump era.

“Human beings are not bartering chips,” Biden said following a virtual summit with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last month.

That same week, Blinken pledged “absolute solidarity” with Canada after his own virtual conference with Garneau and a host of other Canadian officials, including Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S.

Blinken also cheered the Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations, a Canadian initiative comprising a coalition of more than 50 countries opposed to the state-sponsored political detention of foreign nationals.

READ MORE: ‘Two Michaels’ detained in China have hearings Friday and Monday, says Garneau

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

China

Just Posted

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

Brenda Ware. (RCMP)
Murder charge laid against man in Kootenay National Park homicide

Philip Toner was located in Lake Country on May 11

Town has passed the 2021 budget, with a five per cent spending increase. (Claire Palmer photo)
Town council approves 2021 budget and tax rate bylaw

The budget will increase by five per cent this year

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

Vernon’s Tanya Wick, human resources VP at Tolko Industries Ltd., has been named the 2021 HR Professional of the Year by the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of British Columbia and Yukon. (CPHR BC & Yukon photo)
Okanagan resident gets top provincial award for HR excellence

Tolko’s Tanya Wick has earned the title of 2021 HR Professional of the Year

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

What3words was first created in the U.K. in 2013 and is credited to saving the lives of outdoor enthusiasts around the world. (Contributed)
‘This is a life saving tool’: App helps paramedics find capsized canoeists near Revelstoke

What3words pinpoints the person’s phone location to a three-meter range

The City of Vernon is taking a close look at six high-priority Okanagan Lake access points, including three sites along Tronson Road (pictured above) in May 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon council looking closely at Okanagan Lake access points

Six access points have been identified as ideal for recreation

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Police working to identify the two bodies found in South Okanagan

The area will see higher police presence ahead of a forensic examination

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Most Read