China 'resolutely opposes' demands for release of detained Canadians


Canada has been urging for China to release the two men after they were taken into custody on security grounds days after Canadian authorities arrested a senior executive with Chinese firm Huawei Technologies Meng Wanzhou.

Spokeswoman Hua Chunying says the detention of Huawei Technologies' chief financial officer is a much bigger global offence than China's own arrests of two Canadians, including a former diplomat.

China on Monday said it "resolutely opposes" statements made last week by Canada and the USA demanding the release of detained Canadians.

At a news conference on Monday, China's foreign ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said the country expresses strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to the demand by the two nations. "When the Canadians illegally detained a senior executive at a Chinese company at the request of the U.S., where were they?"

Freeland spoke a day after the United States joined Canada in calling on Beijing to release the pair, who were held after Canadian authorities arrested a senior Chinese executive on a USA extradition warrant.

Ottawa has repeatedly said Meng's arrest was not political, but rather part of a judicial process in keeping with an extradition treaty with Washington.

Meng has been released on bail in Vancouver pending a United States extradition hearing on U.S. fraud charges related to sanctions-breaking business dealings with Iran.

China has "resolutely" opposed demands on Monday urging Beijing to release two detained Canadian citizens, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who are now being held in detention by Chinese authorities.

"Their so-called human rights have different standards for different countries' citizens", Hua added.

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The EU said the "declared motive" for the arrest and detention of Kovrig and Spavor "raises concerns about legitimate research and business practices in China".

Chinese officials took former diplomat Mr. Kovrig and entrepreneur Mr. Spavor into custody on December 10, just days after China promised retaliation for Canada's arrest of Ms. Meng.

Meng is now out of custody on $10 million bail, staying at a house in Vancouver and not allowed to leave the country.

No details have been revealed about Spavor's detention.

"He's not allowed to apply for bail and not allowed to see a lawyer", said one source, adding Kovrig was being held at an undisclosed location, questioned every morning, afternoon and evening and not allowed to turn the lights off at night.

The German foreign ministry said it was closely following the cases of former diplomat Michael Kovrig and consultant Michael Spavor.

December 21: Kovrig's employer, the International Crisis Group, says he has not been given access to a lawyer while in custody.

A day earlier, she issued a statement marking a shift in Canada's tone that called for the "immediate release" of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor.