World Politics

China: Canadians Charged with Spying

China: Two Canadians Charged with Espionage – Update

On June 19, 2020, Chinese authorities formally charged two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor (known as the “Two Michaels”) with spying (espionage).  Both were arrested in China in December 2018.  Given Canada’s mediocre, if not non-existent, role in international affairs (e.g. it was beat out for a recent UN Security Council seat by Norway and Ireland), these charges are ridiculous.  Spying for Canada?  Really?  The Chinese authorities honestly expect us to believe that!

In effect, the Two Michaels are being held for ransom, as the Communist Chinese government wants Canada to release Meng Wanzhou, a top executive at the Chinese telecommunications company, Huawei.  She is being held in Vancouver, awaiting extradition to the USA for bank and wire fraud.  While the Two Michaels are being held in prison with no contact from the outside, Meng Wanzhou is being allowed to live in luxury at her $14 million (CDN) 7-bedroom mansion in the fashionable Shaughnessy district.

Recently several prominent American politicians (both Republican and Democrat) have joined together to speak out against their wrongful arrest and to fight for their release.  No such action has taken place in Canada.  The moral of the story may be:  if you are a Canadian and get arrested in China (or elsewhere), call the American Embassy, as they will actually try to help you!  

Current Events

China Not Safe to Visit

On December 1, 2018 Meng Wanzhou, CFO, Huawei, was arrested in Vancouver, Canada on an extradition warrant issued by the US government for bank and wire fraud. In retaliation, on December 10th, China’s secret police arbitrarily arrested two Canadian businessmen: Michael Kovrig in Beijing and Michael Spavor in Dandong. They accused them of breaking China’s national security laws (which they both deny). To date there has been no trial. Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is aware of this situation, but has taken no concrete action to obtain their release. By their actions, China’s communist government is warning all foreigners that they can be arrested at any time and for any reason. China is no longer safe to do business or to go for vacation.