Chinese officials today confirmed that they have charged former diplomat, Michael Kovrig and businessman, Michael Spavor with espionage. Mr Kovrig and Mr Spavor have been detained in China since their arrests in December 2018, which came in the wake of the arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver.
The pair are accused of “spying on national secrets” and gathering intelligence for “outside entities”. Canada has described their detention as “arbitrary”, but China denies any retaliatory link with Ms Meng’s case. Last month, Ms Meng’s case was dealt a blow when a Canadian court ruled that extradition proceedings against her could proceed. This week, her lawyers applied for a stay, arguing that the proceedings amount to an abuse of process.
Chinese state news site, the Global Times, issued a warning, in the wake China’s charging decision, against linking the case with that of Ms Meng who they say is the victim of a global conspiracy against China. These latest developments place further strain on the already frayed diplomatic relations between Canada, China and the US.