A Chinese court on Friday proceeded to hear the trial of a Canadian businessman who has been detained for more than two years on charges of espionage, in a case that has sparked global outrage and prompted the United States to intervene. Have called for
A court in northeastern China’s city of Dandong tested a Canadian, Michael Spawer, who worked to promote cultural travel in North Korea. taken into custody In late 2018, in retaliation for Canada’s decision to arrest a top Chinese technology executive at the request of the United States.
The court said in a loud tone Statement Mr Spiver was charged with espionage and tried to “illegally provide state secrets to foreign countries”. It said the decision would be announced later.
In a sign of China’s efforts to control the proceedings, the authorities barred the public and the news media from participating in the trial. A group of 10 diplomats representing eight countries, including Canada and the United States, tried to seek trial in Dandong, a seaside town near China’s border with North Korea, but were turned away. The court said the lawsuits, which lasted about two hours, were conducted privately because it involved state secrets.
“We are deeply troubled by the lack of transparency surrounding these proceedings,” Jim Nickel, a top official at the Canadian embassy in Beijing, said in a statement.
Another Canadian, Michael koverigA former diplomat, who was detained in 2018, is expected to face trial in Beijing on Monday.
Ever since he was detained, Mr. Spoyer and Mr. Kovil were at the center of one Hot international controversy Between China, Canada and the United States.
China, accusing Western nations of attempting to thwart its lead as a technology superpower, pressured the United States to drop a widespread fraud case against Chinese technology giant Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wenzhou Used to be. The United States, which is seeking the extradition of Ms. Meng, has called on China to release Mr. Sposter and Mr. Koverig.
“The trial of two Michaels is revenge for Ms. Meng,” said Guy Saint-JacquesA veteran Canadian ambassador to China, who was Mr. Kovil’s boss when he was the first secretary at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing. “This is a message for Canada and the world: ‘Don’t mess with China.”
Canadians were expected to come to the issue as top Biden administration officials met their Chinese counterparts at Anchorage starting Thursday. Friends and relatives of Mr. Spoyer and Mr. Koverig met with President Biden and the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, to preserve his release.
US officials said on Friday that they were “deeply concerned” with China’s decision to proceed with Mr Sposter and Mr Koverig’s trials. A spokesman for the United States Embassy in Beijing said in a statement, “We stand shoulder to shoulder with Canada asking for their immediate release.”
Any agreement with Beijing could be elusive, as China has not shown any signs of retreating, instead using its own prosecution of two people to project an image of strength and demanding that the United States of America Ms. Meng’s Withdraw your extradition request.
“Beijing is making it clear that two Michaels will be put on trial with Chinese features: closed to the public and to the media,” Diana fu, An Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. “There is little doubt in its actions as to who will be the final decider of Canadians’ fate – not the Chinese Communist Party, not Biden, not Trudeau.”
Imprisonment of two men has led to calls in Canada for strict action against China. according to a Fresh voting The Angus Reid Institute, a major polling company, only 14 percent of Canadians have a favorable view of China. The Chinese government has freed the relationship between the two Canadians as a condition of re-establishing.
“Canada has a backlash against China, and the test will only be a strict attitude,” said Gordon holdenDirector, Director of the University of Alberta China Institute. He said that the case of two Michaels underlined the limited benefits of a middle power like Canada when it was economically and politically degraded like China.
Legal experts and human rights activists have condemned China’s treatment of Canadians, accusing Chinese authorities of resorting to “host diplomacy”. Two people held in different jails of northern China have been isolated from the world and are sometimes forced to go for months to meet diplomats. He had limited access to defense lawyers.
Sophie Richardson, China’s director of Human Rights Watch, said, “Like many instances in which Chinese officials want to silence a critic or decide a score, these cases have nothing to do with the law.”
A self-described consultant, Mr. Spaver ran an organization in Dandong, which promoted cultural visits to North Korea. He established high-level contacts there and once met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. In 2013, Mr. Spear helped arrange a trip to North Korea by former NBA star Dennis Rodman.
“Michael is just an ordinary Canadian businessman,” his family said in a statement before the trial on Friday. “He loved living and working in China and would never have done anything to hurt the interests of China or the Chinese people. We stand with Michael and maintain our innocence in this difficult situation. “
Claire fu And Albi Zhang Contributed to research.