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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

School District 8 superintendent Christine Perkins says she’s leaving at the end of the school year. Photo: Tyler Harper
School District 8 superintendent Christine Perkins resigns

Perkins is leaving to take over another district

Selkirk College has received provincial funding to assist students. File photo
Selkirk College receives funding to assist students

Provincial funding is available to West Kootenay students

A mushroom grower plans to plan new mushrooms in fallen trees in the Kaslo Community Forest. File photo
Kaslo mushroom farmer given green light for unique project

Robin Mercy will plant mushrooms in the Kaslo Community Forest

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A volunteer disinfects a historical Mohabat Khan mosque ahead of the upcoming Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)
For Canadian Muslims, second pandemic Ramadan is a time of hope and sadness

Many members of the association are trying to find ways ‘to help people stay connected to one another’

South Surrey farmland, March 2020. The province’s crackdown on secondary residences sparked protests that have the NDP government engaged in a lengthy rewrite of its legislation. (Tracy Holmes/Peace Arch News)
B.C. NDP now wants to keep even ‘non-farmers’ on the land

‘Grandfathering’ of second residences extended again

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. The Vancouver Canucks say 25 players and coaches have tested positive during a COVID-19 outbreak that involves a variant of the virus. It is now the biggest reported outbreak in the NHL this season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks’ return to practice pushed back as player added to COVID protocol list

COVID outbreak has led to eight games being cancelled

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

Most Read