Beijing, March 4, 2019 (Reuters/NNN) China on Monday accused detained Canadian citizen Michael Kovrig of stealing state secrets which were passed on to him from another detained Canadian, Michael Spavor.
The accusation is likely to further ramp up tension between Ottawa and Beijing.
Businessman Spavor, who worked with North Korea, and former diplomat Kovrig were picked up in early December, shortly after Canada arrested Huawei Technologies Co Ltd. chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, who faces extradition to the U.S.
China has repeatedly demanded Meng’s release and reacted angrily recently when Canada’s government approved extradition proceedings against her.
The ruling Communist Party’s Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission said Kovrig had often entered China using an ordinary passport and business visas “stealing and spying on sensitive Chinese information and intelligence via a contact in China”.
“Spavor was Kovrig’s main contact and provided him with intelligence,” the commission added, without giving details.
Kovrig severely violated Chinese laws, and China will start the next judicial proceedings in due course, it said.
“China is a country with rule of law and will firmly crack down on criminal acts that severely undermine national security.”
While Canada says China has made no specific link between the detentions and Meng’s arrest, experts and former diplomats say they have no doubt it is using the cases of the two men to pressure Canada.
Kovrig works for the International Crisis Group (ICG), which focuses on conflict resolution and has denied any involvement in espionage.
Canadian diplomats have been allowed to see the two men, however, sources familiar with the case have said Kovrig has not been allowed access to lawyers or family members, unlike Huawei’s Meng.
It is not clear what conditions Spavor is being held in.
China has said it is fully guaranteeing both men’s lawful rights.
Canada arrested Meng on Dec. 1 as she was changing planes in the city of Vancouver, at the request of the U.S., which has filed sweeping charges against Huawei and Meng that paint the company as a national security threat.
Meng has been charged with bank and wire fraud to violate U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Report says she is free on bail and denies the charges against her. (Reuters/NNN)
Edited by Abiodun Oluleye/Silas Nwoha
Man seeks divorce of 13-month-old marriage over alleged deception Climate change plays a role in United States fires, climate expert says COVID-19: Nasarawa Govt. sets up committee on schools reopening UN investigator on Belarus warns of another ‘iron curtain’ Edo 2020: Youth group tasks stakeholders on peaceful election Police foil robbery attack in Niger Accident claims 1 in Anambra – FRSC NAF distributes medical oxygen cylinders to FCT isolation centres 2 traders bag 8 months imprisonment each for stealing a chicken Third Mainland Bridge phase one rehabilitation almost complete – Controller CSOs canvass better deal for African wildlife in COVID-19 policies Labourer bags 2 years imprisonment for stealing 12kg gas cylinder, mug cups Police nab 3 over alleged armed robbery, fraud, car theft in Niger Afghan president approves inclusion of mother’s name on ID cards Tensions in Polish governing majority as lawmakers defy ruling party Kwara records 5 new COVID-19 infections Insurance firm donates 500 reflective jackets, kiosks to FRSC NIHOTOUR DG seeks cooperation of stakeholders to ‘sanitise’ tourism, hospitality industry Premier League urges government to stick to Oct. 1 date for fans return How we got rights to broadcast Live German Bundesliga matches – OurTv Gov. Diri sues for understanding over Bayelsa, Rivers boundary dispute COVID-19: Nigeria must embrace e-learning now – Olanipekun Osaka withdraws from French Open with ‘hamstring’ injury COVID-19: NCDC records 131 new cases, as total infections now 56,735 Tanzania seeks stronger trade, diplomatic relations with Nigeria Group welcomes Lanlehin to APC By-elections: Boot Party, ZLP did not submit nominations – INEC Rep. asks I-G to probe alleged killing of youth by SARS in Osun Woman clubbed stepson to death in Kano Ondo 2020: INEC re-opens registration link for NYSC members Gov. Sule inaugurates conflict management committee COVID-19: PTF mandates schools to conduct weekly assessments Lagos bye-elections: Most opposition parties in Lagos too lazy — AD chairman Court remands 30-yr-old man for allegedly raping minor in Osun How we boosted our patronage during COVID-19 — Ibom Resort GM Gov. Ortom condoles Unongo over wife’s death Tertiary institutions in Delta can reopen now till Oct. 2- Commissioner Weight, measures: FG won’t condone sharp practices by traders- Director Maritime Agencies synergise for safety of waterways, improved transportation Flooding: Kwara Assembly passes motion to maintain drainage systems COVID-19: INEC to enforce physical distancing in Edo election APC Caretaker Committee has no plans for extension, says member Delta Govt reassures parents of Primary Six pupils’ safety during exams Constitution review: INEC wants NASS to approve recommendations on electoral reforms Infrastructure: Firm optimistic of Nigeria’s cement market Customs boss appoints 2 DCGs, 5 ACGs, moves 5 senior officers Institute urges LASG to pay allowances to enforcement officers on training Katsina gov’t. spent N3b on WAEC, NECO fees in 5 years, says Commissioner Local Content: Don’t scare investors, Ajumogobia tells NASS AIICO Insurance partners NGO to provide relief packages to indigents