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China charges two Canadians with espionage

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 6/19/20, 04:59 am

After more than 18 months in detention without access to lawyers, Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor finally were charged on Friday. The prosecutor’s office in Beijing charged Kovrig, a former diplomat, with spying to obtain state secrets and intelligence. Spavor, a businessman who arranged travel to North Korea, faced charges in the border city of Dandong for spying for a foreign entity and illegally providing state secrets.

Why did Chinese officials accuse them of spying? Authorities detained the two men weeks after Canadian officials in Vancouver arrested Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on behalf of the United States. A Canadian judge earlier this month ruled the U.S. extradition case against Meng can continue to the next stage. China has denied the two men’s cases are retaliatory, saying they were “charged with solid evidence.”

Dig deeper: Read June Cheng’s 2018 report on the U.S. case against Meng.

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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