China criticises Canada for ‘irresponsible remarks’ over two men charged with spying

Beijing denounces ‘megaphone diplomacy’ over jailed Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and arrest of Huawei executive

The Guardian
Date: 28 Jun 2020

Supporters of detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor at an extradition hearing for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver this year. Photograph: Canadian Press/REX/Shutterstock

China has sharply criticised Canada over its comments about two Canadians charged with spying, blaming its leaders for “irresponsible” statements and calling on Ottawa to end its “megaphone diplomacy”.

Chinese prosecutors this month charged Canadians Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a businessman, over allegations of espionage and providing state secrets.

In response, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau called on Beijing to cease the “arbitrary detention,” and US secretary of state Mike Pompeo also called for their release.

But a statement posted on the website of the Chinese embassy in Ottawa on Saturday said the evidence against the two Canadians was “solid and sufficient”.

The two were arrested in December 2018 – a few days after Canada detained the financial director of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, at the request of the US judicial authorities.

The charges against the two Canadians have been criticised as being retaliation for Meng’s arrest. China denies the allegation, while Trudeau has repeatedly called the detention of the two men “arbitrary”.