The United States has expressed concern about the way the Chinese government is conducting the trial of two Canadians charged with espionage, according to a State Department spokesperson.
“We remain deeply troubled by the lack of transparency surrounding the legal proceedings of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig,” Ned Price tweeted Tuesday.
Entrepreneur Spavor and former diplomat Kovrig were both arrested on different occasions in December 2018 following the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies, in Vancouver on a U.S. warrant.
Meng remains under house arrest in Vancouver as she fights extradition. As a chief financial officer of Huawei — one of the world’s largest manufacturers of smartphones — Meng is accused of lying to U.S. officials about Huawei’s business in Iran, which is under U.S. sanctions.
The arrests plunged relations between Ottawa and Beijing to their lowest levels in decades.
The espionage trial of Kovrig began Monday behind closed doors in Beijing, three days after Spavor was put on trial behind closed doors in the northeastern Chinese city of Dandong.
Diplomats from several nations, including Canada and the United States, gathered Monday outside the Beijing courthouse where Kovrig’s trial was held after they were barred from attending it for what China says are national security reasons.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has denounced China’s action as “completely unacceptable, as is the lack of transparency around these court proceedings.”
The United States joined the call for “continued consular access in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations,” Price’s tweet read in support of the Canadian government.