Former Canadian diplomat goes missing in China

18 Décembre, 2018, 04:09 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Michael Spavor

Based on his experience observing past cases, Saint-Jacques said he believes Kovrig is already enduring long interrogations by Chinese authorities.

The chief financial officer for Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies has returned to a Canadian court for a second day of bail hearings about her possible extradition to the United States to face fraud charges.

"We have a lot of very big, very important issues". "The level of fury on Chinese social media, some of the statements we've heard from Beijing makes it look like this is going to be something that's going to have knock-on effects for quite some time", he said Tuesday.

The Beijing News reported Wednesday that Kovrig "was suspected of engaging in activities that endanger China's national security".

The evolving dispute has created fresh uncertainties for Canadians who spend time in China.

Her words mark another potentially hard moment in ties between Canada and the United States, which were heavily strained during more than a year of talks to negotiate a new North American trade pact.

Spavor is based in northeast China, where he runs the Paektu Cultural Exchange programme, an organisation that facilitates sport, cultural, tourism and business trips to North Korea.

"In 2013 and 2014, he organized the Dennis Rodman visits, and the basketball match between the DPRK and former NBA players, where he also became friends with the country's leader Marshal Kim Jong Un", the website states.

The most recent high-profile target was South Korean retailer Lotte, whose business in China was devastated after it sold land to the Seoul government for use in an US anti-missile system stridently opposed by Beijing.

China had threatened severe consequences unless Canada released Meng immediately and analysts have said retaliation for the arrest was likely.

Meng was arrested on fraud charges in Canada on December 1 upon the request of a district NY court, in relation to Huawei's alleged violation of USA sanctions on Iran. Such work is common among diplomats and foreign journalists in China, but viewed with deep suspicion by China's ruling Communist Party, raising the possibility Kovrig could be charged with espionage.

Michael Kovrig
Image Michael Kovrig is also in custody in China

Meng must wear a Global Positioning System ankle bracelet at all times, limit her movements to the Greater Vancouver area, and pay for her own round-the-clock surveillance by a security firm charged with making sure she adheres to all her bail conditions.

Canada has asked China for extra security at its embassy because of protests and anti-Canadian sentiment and has advised foreign service staff to take precautions, a senior Canadian official told reporters.

But with a few words, U.S. President Donald Trump obliterated the distinction Tuesday, saying he'd wade into the case if it would help produce a trade agreement with China.

But President Donald Trump undercut that message in an interview Tuesday with Reuters, where he said he would consider intervening in the case against Meng if it would be in the interest of us national security or help forge a trade deal with Beijing.

Canada has maintained that the rule of law is separate from politics, that the case against Meng will be judged fairly and independently.

"We are aware of the situation of the Canadian detained in China", Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the Canadian government had raised his case with Chinese authorities.

International Trade Minister Jim Carr and Small Business Minister Mary Ng, both of whom recently returned from official visits to China, recommended Canadians conduct business as usual in the Asian country, even with the heightened tensions and threats that have followed Meng's arrest.

Mei Xinyu, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, a state-owned think tank affiliated with the Ministry of Commerce, said that Trump's comments could be read as an "indirect confession" of kidnapping Meng.

There is precedent for Trump intervening on behalf of a Chinese company accused of violating US sanctions. Meng has been accused by US prosecutors of misleading multinational banks about Iran-linked transactions, putting the banks at risk of violating USA sanctions. USA regulators planned to bar it from receiving US components that it depended on, effectively a corporate death sentence.

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