Canadian men now detained more than 1,000 days in China
Canadian and U.S. officials have renewed their calls for the release of two Canadian men who have now been held for more than 1,000 days in apparent retaliation for the arrest of a Chinese executive.
Sunday marked the 1,000th day that Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have been detained in what critics label "hostage politics." Their arrests came days after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei, on a U.S. extradition request to face fraud charges.
The arrest infuriated Beijing, which sees Meng’s case as a political move designed to prevent China’s rise. It denies a direct connection to the Canadians’ cases, but Chinese officials frequently mention their fates together.
Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat, and Spavor, an entrepreneur, are accused of spying. Last month, Chinese court sentenced Spavor to 11 years in prison.
"Years have been cruelly stolen from both men and their families. Despite this, they have shown integrity and courage throughout this terrible ordeal," Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement issued Sunday.
"We are inspired by their resilience as we continue to work tirelessly with our allies and international partners to do everything we can to bring them home," Garneau said.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says that "people are not bargaining chips" and adds that the U.S. stands with Canada in calling for the men’s release. In a statement issued Sunday, Blinken says that "the practice of arbitrarily detaining individuals to exercise leverage over foreign governments is completely unacceptable."
Meng has been on house arrest in Canada while a months-long extradition proceeding continues in court. A ruling is expected in October.