Canadians arrested on espionage charges

BEIJING (China Daily/ANN) - China has formally arrested two Canadians who were detained in December on suspicion of endangering national security, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Thursday.

Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat, was arrested on suspicion of prying into State secrets and intelligence for overseas forces, Lu said at a daily news conference.

Michael Spavor, a businessman based in China, was arrested on suspicion of stealing and illegally providing State secrets to overseas forces, Lu said. 

State security authorities in Beijing and Dandong, Liaoning province, took the two into custody in December after they were suspected of engaging in activities that endangered China’s State security. 

According to reports in March, Kovrig often entered China using an ordinary passport and business visas since 2017 and obtained intelligence information from Spavor. 

China’s legal authorities have always handled the case according to the law, and Canada should stop “making irresponsible comments”, Lu said after Canada said it “strongly condemns” the arrests.

Also, the pair’s legitimate rights have been fully guaranteed, Lu said. The Associated Press quoted diplomats as saying that Canadian consular officials visited Kovrig on Monday.

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