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Second Canadian Reportedly Detained in China

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In this image made from video taken March 2, 2017, Michael Spavor, director of Paektu Cultural Exchange, talks during a Skype interview in Yangi, China.

China has confirmed that it has detained a second Canadian citizen following the arrest earlier this month of a senior Chinese tech executive.

Canadian officials identified the citizen as Michael Spavor, director of Paektu Cultural Exchange, an office that arranges sports and educational exchanges with North Korea.

On Thursday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Spavor and former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig were taken into custody Monday on suspicion of “endangering national security.”.

A spokesman from China's state-run news agency told VOA's Mandarin service that Kovrig is suspected of "engaging in activities that endanger" the country's security. He gave no other information.

Kovrig was detained Monday, a little more than a week after Canadian police arrested Chinese telecom executive Meng Wanzhou at the Vancouver airport on a U.S. warrant.

She is accused of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.

A Canadian judge freed her on bail late Tuesday while she awaits a hearing on extradition to the United States. Meng must remain in British Columbia and live in a house owned by her husband. She will also be under 24-hour surveillance.

FILE - Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, left, who was arrested on an extradition warrant, appears at her British Columbia Supreme Court bail hearing Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Dec. 10, 2018.
FILE - Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, left, who was arrested on an extradition warrant, appears at her British Columbia Supreme Court bail hearing Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Dec. 10, 2018.

​Meng is chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunication giant Huawei Technologies, a company founded by her father that is one of the world's biggest manufacturers of mobile phones. Her family is worth billions of dollars.

U.S. officials say Meng lied to banks about Huawei's control of Hong Kong-based Skycom, a company that allegedly sold U.S. goods to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions against Tehran.

If convicted in the United States, Meng faces up to 30 years in prison.

Her arrest has infuriated China, which called it "extremely bad." China summoned the U.S. ambassador to lodge a formal protest.

U.S. President Donald Trump said he would intervene in the case against Meng if it means reaching a trade deal with China.

"Whatever's good for the country, I would do," Trump told Reuters on Tuesday. "If I think it's good for what will certainly be the largest trade deal ever made, which is a very important thing. What's good for national security, I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary."

White House Bureau Chief Steve Herman and VOA's Mandarin Service contributed to this report.

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