China is increasing pressure as a Canadian judge considers whether to send Huawei's executive to the United States to be charged with violating Iran's trade sanctions. A Canadian judge rejected Tuesday's appeal against the sentence of another Canadian in a drug case. The sentence was suddenly increased to death following the executive's arrest.
Canadian diplomat Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur, and Michael Spavor, an ex-diplomat were taken into custody in what critics called "hostage politics" following the arrest of Meng Wanzhou from Huawei Dec. 1, 2018.
Spavor was sentenced in Dandong (about 210 miles (335 kilometers) east from Beijing, at the North Korean border. The government has not released any details except to say that Spavor was accused of passing sensitive information to Michael Kovrig (an ex-diplomat) beginning in 2017. They have been kept indefinitely and have had little contact with Canadian diplomats.
Spavor's sentencing was condemned by the Canadian government. The Canadian government condemned Spavor's sentence and demanded their immediate release.
Ambassador Dominic Barton said that Spavor's legal proceedings "lacked both fairness, and transparency" outside the detention center where Spavor was sentenced.
Justin Trudeau, Canada's Prime Minister, later stated that the trial did not meet international standards.
According to Barton, Spavor has two weeks in which to decide whether or not to appeal.
Spavor's family released a statement saying that, "While we disagree, we understand that this is the next stage in the process of bringing Michael home and we will continue supporting him through this difficult time."
His family stated that Michael's passion in life was to bring together different cultures through tourism and events between countries like Canada and the Korean peninsula. His passion has been reaffirmed by this situation.
As a gesture of support, diplomats from the United States and several European countries, including Australia, Japan, Britain (and Australia), Germany, Germany, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, Japan, Australia, Germany, and other European countries, gathered at Beijing's Canadian Embassy. Separate appeals were made for Spavor, Kovrig and other European countries to be given fair trials or released.
U.S. Secretary Antony Blinken stated in a statement that "the practice of arbitrarily detaining people to exercise leverage over foreign government is completely unacceptable." "People shouldn't be used as bargaining chips."
Marc Garneau, Canadian Foreign Minister, stated that Canada was moved by the solidarity shown by its international partners.
Meng, chief financial officer at Huawei Technologies Ltd., and the daughter of its founder, were arrested by the United States on charges of lying to the Hong Kong branch of the British bank HSBC regarding possible Iran trade sanctions violations.
Meng's lawyers claim that the case is politically motivated, and that what she is charged with is not a crime in Canada.
Beijing denies that Meng's case is connected to Spavor and Kovrig's arrests, but Chinese officials as well as state media often mention the two men when discussing whether Meng can return to China.
Barton stated that he did not believe it was coincidence that Meng's case was moving in Vancouver while the Chinese cases were being handled in China.
Barton was asked if Canada was considering sending Meng home as a trade for Canadian detainees being released. I won't go into detail. That will not stop."
According to Barton, diplomats from Germany and the United States were allowed to enter the Dandong detention center but they weren't allowed to.
The ambassador stated that "our collective presence and voice sends a strong signal to China and China's government that the eyes are watching,"
Barton stated that Chinese authorities used photos taken at airports by Spavor, which included military aircraft.
The ambassador stated that "a lot of it was about the photo evidence." He clearly had a different opinion."
Spavor was a Chinese-born worker, but he had strong links to North Korea through tourism ventures and other commercial ventures. This brought him in contact with the leader of an isolated communist country. Spavor was being held in Canada for 975 days, according to the Embassy.
Spavor met Barton after the sentencing. He said that he had sent three messages to Spavor: "Thanks for all your support. It means a lot. Two, I am in good spirits. Three, I want to go home.
Barton stated, "He's strong and resilient, focused on the present." "We had a very pleasant conversation."
Kovrig was also detained in December 2018. He was tried in March. No word yet on when a verdict will be released.
A Chinese court denied Robert Schellenberg's appeal on Tuesday. His 15-year sentence for drug smuggling in prison was suddenly increased to death in January 2019, following Meng’s arrest. China's supreme Court was notified and ordered to review the case.
Canada and other countries including Australia and the Philippines are under Chinese pressure to trade boycotts. American tourists are warned by the United States that they face "heightened risk of arbitrarily detention" in China. This is not to enforce laws.
China tried to press Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by placing restrictions on Canadian imports of canola oil and other products.
After its government demanded an investigation into the source of the coronavirus pandemic, Beijing has blocked imports of Australian wheat, wine, and other products.