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

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
54 more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty-two people in the region are in hospital with the virus, 11 of them in intensive care

Dr. Katherine Oldfield is a naturopathic physician, mother, and active member of the Nelson-West Kootenay chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Photo: Submitted
COLUMN: Restore our Earth, restore our health

Katherine Oldfield writes about the priorities we need to have ahead of Earth Day

Air Canada will not be resuming flight to Castlegar anytime soon. Photo: Betsy Kline
Service to West Kootenay Regional Airport not included in Air Canada deal announcement

Air Canada will not be resuming flights to Castlegar at this time

While pharmacies across B.C. are using AstraZeneca for public immunizations for people 40 years of age and older, there is no availability currently in the Kootenays. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
No AstraZeneca vaccine availability in Kootenay pharmacies, says Interior Health

Vaccine has been opened up at pharmacies in other areas of the province to people 40 years of age and older

Idle Eyes, Tad Campbell (middle). Photo: Idle Eyes Facebook page
Idle Eyes frontman, Trail native, sentenced to house arrest

Campbell avoided jail time at the Feb. 5 sentencing in the Vancouver courthouse.

Four homes in Johnson Flats were at serious risk of falling into a neighbourhood section of the Kettle River, according to capital project manager Justin Dinsdale. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks shields riverside homes against erosion

Crews have built a modified dike along a section of the Kettle River in Johnson Flats

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, walks down the street with an acquaintance after leaving B.C. Supreme Court during a lunch break at her extradition hearing, in Vancouver, B.C., Thursday, April 1, 2021. A judge is scheduled to release her decision today on a request to delay the final leg of hearings in Meng Wanzhou’s extradition case. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rich Lam
B.C. judge grants Meng Wanzhou’s request to delay extradition hearings

Lawyers for Canada’s attorney general had argued there is no justification to delay proceedings in the case

B.C. Premier John Horgan announces travel restrictions between the province’s regional health authorities at the legislature, April 19, 2021. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sees 862 more COVID-19 cases Wednesday, seven deaths

Recreational travel restrictions set to begin Friday

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson is photographed following her budget speech in the legislative assembly at the provincial legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. budget lacks innovative drive, vision during uncertain times, say experts

Finance Minister Selina Robinson’s budget sets out to spend $8.7 billion over three years on infrastructure

Using panels kept cold by water circulating within them, B.C. researchers compared thermal comfort in 60 of the world’s most populous cities, including Toronto. (Lea Ruefenacht)
B.C. researchers use air conditioning to combat spread of COVID particles

Dr. Adam Rysanek and his team have proven a new worthwhile system – a mixture of cooling panels and natural ventilation

Police road checks are coming for people travelling between regions while COVID-19 travel restrictions are in place. (Black Press file photo)
B.C. clarifies COVID-19 travel restrictions, Lower Mainland a single zone

Vehicle checks on highways, at ferry terminals to start Friday

Canadian driver Paul Tracy pulls out of the pits during the morning session at the Molson Indy in Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, July 26, 2003 (CP/Richard Lam)
Vancouver is considering hosting a Formula E race using electric cars

The race would be part of a three-day event focused on climate and sustainability

Most Read