Michael Kovrig (left) and Michael Spavor, the two Canadians detained in China, are shown in these 2018 images taken from video. A powerful Republican senator and Trump ally says China is detaining two Canadians in harsh conditions and U.S. lawmakers won’t rest until they are freed. Idaho Sen. Jim Risch, who chairs the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tells The Canadian Press that Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are being treated worse than Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who is out on bail in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP

Canadian consular officials in China meet with detainee Michael Kovrig

Canadian government says the men’s detentions are ‘arbitrary’

Global Affairs Canada says detained Canadian Michael Kovrig has received another visit from consular officials in China.

Kovrig, a diplomat on leave, and the entrepreneur Michael Spavor were detained in China on Dec. 10 but have not had access to lawyers or been formally charged.

It was the seventh time consular officials have seen Kovrig since he was detained, while Spavor has had six such visits.

The Canadian government says the men’s detentions are “arbitrary” and is calling for their immediate release.

About a month after they were arrested, Global Affairs warned Canadians travelling to China to do so with a “high degree of caution” because of the arbitrary application of local laws.

Global Affairs notes a number of countries back Canada’s position on the matter, including the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Spain and Denmark, as well as NATO, the European Union and the G7.

READ MORE: China holds appeal hearing for former Abbotsford man sentenced to death

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed a rare unanimous resolution praising Canada for upholding the rule of law in arresting Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in December on an American warrant. The U.S. wants to extradite Meng and prosecute her for allegedly lying to banks to avoid U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Canadian officials have complained that Kovrig and Spavor are being held in retaliation for Meng’s arrest.

Meng is free on bail pending an extradition hearing.

Consular visits typically include assessing the well-being of the men, trying to get them medical attention if needed and helping them communicate with loved ones.

Because of privacy laws, Global Affairs Canada is saying nothing further about the visit.

READ MORE: Arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou to seek stay of extradition proceedings

The Canadian Press


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