BEIJING: China has detained a second Canadian national in what seems to be a direct retaliation to the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that two Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are “being investigated” on suspicion of “activities that endangered China’s national security.”
The Canadian government also confirmed Spavor’s detention on Thursday. Michael Spavor was “being investigated” by the Dandong city branch of China’s ministry of state security. The probe was initiated on December 10, according to reports.
Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said authorities had taken “compulsory measures” on the two men on Monday and that both cases remain under investigation. “As far as I know, Beijing State Security Bureau and Liaoning State Security Department notified the Canadian Embassy separately, and the two persons’ legal rights and interests have been guaranteed,” Lu added.
Spavor is based near the China-North Korea border and founded a company that helps facilitate trips to North Korea. He has assisted former NBA player Dennis Rodman’s travel to Pyongyang to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The two Canadians arrested by China seems to be a message to Canada to ensure the release of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou who is out on bail after being arrested by Canadian police on an arrest warrant issued by US authorities.
Meng Wanzhou was released on a conditional bail – she has to wear an ankle monitor, be based at her home in Vancouver and pay $7 million of her $10 million bail bond in cash. China has reacted furiously to her arrest calling it “lawless, reasonless and ruthless.” Huawei is the world’s biggest technology hardware firm with its supply lines extending 170 countries.
However, US authorities say Meng Wanzhou as CFO of Huawei was instrumental in circumventing sanctions imposed on Iran and transferring critical technology hardware to the country.