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Accused Canadian Spy Released From Detention in China

FILE - Peter Garratt, one of the sons of Canadian couple Kevin and Julia Dawn Garratt, who are being investigated in China for threatening national security, stands outside his parents' coffee shop as he talks to Reuters journalists in Dandong, Liaoning province, China, Aug. 6, 2014.

Canada says China has released one of its citizens, a Christian missionary who was accused of stealing military secrets while doing humanitarian work with North Koreans.

Chinese authorities released Julia Garratt on Tuesday after six months of detention, while keeping her husband in custody.

In an email to the VOA Korean service , a Canadian foreign affairs official who did not want to be named, urged the Chinese government to free Kevin Garratt.

“While we welcome the recent decision to release Julia Garratt, the Government of Canada remains very concerned with the detention of Mr. Garratt. We have raised the case at the highest levels and will continue to raise it with senior officials. Consular officials have had regular access to the Garratts, we will continue to push for regular access and to provide consular support,” the official said.

The Canadian government did not say how she was released, saying her privacy should be protected.

The couple has lived in China for the past 30 years and has been running a coffee shop since 2008 in Dandong, a Chinese border city frequented by North Koreans. According to media reports, the couple worked to provide humanitarian aid to the North and trained North Korean Christians inside China.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Korean service.