One of the two Canadians arrested in China – ostensibly for espionage but more likely as Beijing’s retaliation for the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou – has been tried with no official ruling released.
Michael Spavor spent roughly two hours at a closed-door trial in the northeastern Chinese city of Dandong (on the North Korean border), where the court said it will later set a date to announce its decision, according to statements made by Chinese courts on its website.
No outside observers were allowed to attend the trial, a fact that has spurred outrage from Canadian officials. Canadian embassy staff said Beijing had obligations to allow diplomatic access to a Canadian citizen being tried, but noted Chinese legal officials denied the request on national security grounds.
Spavor and another Canadian, Michael Kovrig, were seized within weeks of Meng Wanzhou’s arrest in Vancouver on a U.S. extradition request on Dec. 1, 2018. While Meng has been released on bail while she fights her extradition to the United States for the last two years, Kovrig and Spavor continue to be detained in Chinese jail during that time.
Canadian diplomats have been granted sporadic access to Spavor and Kovrig, but no access was granted ahead of Spavor’s trial.
Chinese officials have repeatedly laid the blame in the case on Ottawa, saying the Canadian government hold the key through its own actions – implying political interference on the Meng case in Vancouver.
The Meng trial is ongoing in Vancouver, and Kovrig is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.