Published: Sat, December 22, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

EU, US, Canada demand China release arrested Canadians

EU, US, Canada demand China release arrested Canadians

"Canada expects the immediate release of these two Canadians", Freeland said, noting Chinese officials have not publicly connected the Huawei arrest and the detention of the two citizens.

"We are deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of two Canadians earlier this month and call for their immediate release", Freeland said in a written statement.

Canada is now embroiled in a saga that began with Canadian authorities arresting the chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies on an extradition request from the U.S. Canadian federal sources revealed to The Toronto Star that as many as 200 nationals are now incarcerated in China, sparking fears they could be used as political pawns.

Detention of foreign nationals should be guided by rule of law, not politics, she said.

"Canada is conducting a fair, unbiased and transparent legal proceeding with respect to Meng Wanzhou", she said, adding that Canada "respects its global legal commitments, including by honoring its extradition treaty with the United States".

The US state department echoed Canada's call on Friday, saying Beijing should immediately release the Canadian nationals. "Canada is conducting a fair, unbiased and transparent legal proceeding with respect to Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's Chief Financial Officer", the Canadian MFA's statement reads.

Kovrig has also been denied access to a lawyer and will be allowed only one consular visit a month, the person said on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive situation. He's been allowed one 30-minute visit by Canadian Ambassador John McCallum in Beijing, in which he appeared stressed but unharmed, the person said.

Ms. Freeland said Saturday that Chinese authorities have not explicitly told their Canadian counterparts that the pair's arrests were a tit-for-tat reprisal for the detention of Ms. Meng.

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She added that she had been speaking with Chinese authorities, stressing that Canada has the utmost respect for the rule of law.

While it's unclear whether the Kovrig and Spavor cases are related, both men belong to a small community of experts in China's ties with North Korea and were detained on the same day.

"At the request of the U.S. side, the Canadian side arrested a Chinese citizen not violating any American or Canadian law".

Observers say Canada is increasingly looking like collateral damage in a simmering US-China trade war, with Beijing at the same time working to ease trade tensions with Washington.

"I am deeply concerned by suggestions of a political motivation for the detention of two Canadian citizens by the Chinese government".

"We share Canada's commitment to the rule of law as fundamental to all free societies, and we will defend and uphold this principle. I call for them to be treated in a fair, unbiased and transparent manner", British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said.

In yet another statement this week, the directors of several European policy institutions in Berlin expressed "deep concern" about the detained Canadians.

"It's very personal", Freeland said.

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