China accused of taking 'hostages' after Meng's arrest in Vancouver

Marcus Newton
December 15, 2018

"According to what I know, Beijing Municipal Bureau of State Security and Liaoning Provincial Bureau of State Security have notified the Canadian Embassy in Beijing", Lu said.

Canada's foreign ministry confirmed Thursday that China has detained a second Canadian under what Beijing has said is suspicion of threatening its national security.

But US President Donald Trump said he could intervene in the US case against her if it helps seal a trade deal with China - statements that displeased Canada.

Hu Xijin, editor of the state-backed Global Times, a nationalistic tabloid, said on the Weibo social media platform the Chinese government would never concede that the Canadians' detentions were related to Meng's case.

On Tuesday, Canadian officials learned that former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig was being detained and late Wednesday, a Chinese government news website confirmed that local authorities had Spavor in custody.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 8, 2014 and released by North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on January 9, 2014 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (R) speaking with former U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman (not in picture) as Michael Spavor (L) listens at Pyongyang Gymnasium in Pyongyang.

The detentions came after USA officials asked Canadian law enforcement to arrest an executive with Chinese telecom giant Huawei. A Canadian judge released Meng on a $10-million bail Tuesday which included conditions she wear an electronic tracker and is monitored by two surveillance staff.

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.

The justice minister could deny the U.S. request if they deem "it has been made for an improper objective", said one official.

Canada has also been able to grab a bigger slice of China's wheat and soybean market as the Asian nation feuds with the U.S. Soybean shipments have almost doubled to 1 million tons between August and October while wheat exports rose 97 per cent to 397,200 tons, Canadian Grain Commission data show.

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But two sources told The Globe and Mail that the focus has now shifted to China's detention of the two Canadians and Beijing's anger over the arrest of Ms. Meng on fraud charges relating to USA sanctions against Iran.

Canadian officials said they were officially informed via fax early Wednesday of Kovrig's detention. But Trump issued a reprieve, perhaps partly because USA tech companies, major suppliers to ZTE, would also have been scorched.

Friends and experts say Kovrig may have become a "hostage" and "pawn" in the three-nation feud.

The hashtag, "Canada Goose shares plummet", has gathered more than 220 million views as Chinese consumers called for the ban in the world's largest luxury market.

In the days since his arrest, the Foreign Ministry has said Kovrig, now a senior adviser with the International Crisis Group, may have also broken China's NGO law if he was carrying out work for the group while in the country.

The Global Affairs Department said Canadian officials have raised the case of both men directly with Chinese authorities. According to a report from Reuters, the merger could be approved by the us government as soon as next week.

Canadian officials say a wide range of topics was planned for their talks, including Russia-Ukraine tensions and issues related to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, but the ongoing tensions with China will definitely be on the table.

If tried and found guilty in the United States, Meng could face up to 30 years in prison.

"I was stunned to hear of Mike's apparent arrest, which is now the talk of the town in Seoul's NGO, journalistic and diplomatic circles", Andrew Salmon, the Asia Times Northeast Asia correspondent and editor, said.

Chrystia Freeland, Canada's foreign minister, quickly appeared to take aim at Trump's comments.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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