Trudeau says China fabricated charges for Canadian detainees after Meng’s arrest
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that China has concocted national security charges to pin Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig following the arrest of Huawei telecommunications executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver – making echoing an assertion by the Chinese ambassador that the cases are not linked.
“It is evident that the two Michaels were arrested on trumped-up national security charges days after we discharged our extradition treaty responsibilities to our ally, the United States,” he said. Trudeau told reporters at a press conference today.
Kovrig, a former diplomat who worked for an international non-profit group, and Spavor, an entrepreneur who promotes tourism and investment in North Korea, are Canadian citizens who were detained separately by China more than two years.
They were arrested in December 2018 shortly after the arrest of Huawei telecommunications executive Meng Wanzhou by Canadian officials in Vancouver.
Meng was arrested on a US extradition request over allegations that she lied to a Hong Kong banker in August 2013 about Huawei control of a subsidiary accused of violating US sanctions against Iran .
The two men are accused of spying on China.
Trudeau’s comments came after Chinese Ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu tried to put some distance between the two cases during an interview this weekend with CBC News.
Cong was pressed to say why – if the cases are unrelated – he brought up Meng’s imprisonment at his Vancouver mansion when asked about the two Canadian prisoners. Cong said there was clear evidence confirming their guilt but “there is nothing that connects” their case to Meng’s.
“Chinese officials at the time made it clear that they were absolutely linked as a cadre,” Trudeau said.
“Nothing the Ambassador can say now will deter me from understanding that this is indeed the case”