China releases jailed Canadians after US agrees to release Meng Wanzhou

The Chinese government has denied the charges of “hostage diplomacy,” but the detention, arrest and trial of the two Canadians offered Be...


The Chinese government has denied the charges of “hostage diplomacy,” but the detention, arrest and trial of the two Canadians offered Beijing a way to remind Ottawa – and Washington – that their fate was also at stake. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said the United States hailed the release of the men “after more than two and a half years of arbitrary detention.”

For more than 1,000 days, the two Canadians were detained in China in jail, accused of espionage, without proof, and forced to spend months without visits from diplomats.

The two men – M. Kovrig, former diplomat, and Mr. Spavor, an entrepreneur – were once relatively discreet expatriates working in Asia. They have become symbols of the consequences of Beijing’s increasingly aggressive foreign policy, their detentions widely perceived as retribution shapes. Mengthe arrest.

In August, a court in northeast China, where Spavor lived, sentenced him to 11 years in prison after convicting him of espionage. Mr. Kovrig was awaiting a verdict in his case.

While in detention, Mr. Kovrig, who worked for a non-profit organization, was confined to a small prison cell in Beijing and subjected to repeated interrogations. His diet was sometimes limited to rice and boiled vegetables, he told his family.

Chinese authorities have kept Mr. Kovrig so isolated that he was unaware of the details of the coronavirus pandemic until October when Canadian diplomats informed him during a virtual tour, according to his wife, Vina Nadjibulla.

Mr. Spavor, a businessman, made a career of doing business with North Korea. He helped organize a visit to North Korea by Mr. Rodman, the retired basketball player, in 2013, then a second visit the following year. Mr. Spavor’s company, Paektu Cultural Exchange, posted a photo showing Mr. Spavor with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Mr. Kim’s yacht in 2013.



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Newsrust - US Top News: China releases jailed Canadians after US agrees to release Meng Wanzhou
China releases jailed Canadians after US agrees to release Meng Wanzhou
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