İrem UZUN -TDO- China has put two Canadians imprisoned for the past two years on trial, Chinese foreign ministry said on Thursday. Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were arrested in China on December 10, 2018. Confirming the men had been indicted and tried, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Thursday the two Canadian nationals “are suspected of endangering China’s national security”.
The men were arrested exactly two years ago on Thursday in what is seen as a tit-for-tat move by Beijing after police in Canada detained a top executive from the Chinese firm Huawei on a U.S. arrest warrant. Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer and daughter of Huawei's founder, is contesting an order to be extradited to the United States, where she faces bank fraud charges. Beijing has accused Washington of targeting her as part of a wider attempt to undermine the Chinese technology giant. The case has triggered a three-way diplomatic standoff, with friends of the two Michaels saying the pair are caught in the middle as victims of "hostage diplomacy". On Thursday Hua claimed again that their cases and Meng’s were different in nature, with Meng’s being a “purely political incident”.
There has been little information from Chinese authorities about Canadians, who have reportedly been held without access to lawyers or families. Canada's ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, said this week Kovrig and Spavor are anything but broken men, and that seeing how they've endured their captivity was inspiring. Kovrig is "marshalling every ounce of his willpower and strength" to cope with his difficult situation, Kovrig's wife Vina Nadjibulla said in an interview this week. "He hopes that he will be able to come out from this experience not only having survived it, but with a commitment, with resolve to rebuild his life better, to contribute even more to society," she added.