World: China formally accuses Canadians of espionage as Huawei standoff intensifies - PressFrom - US

WorldChina formally accuses Canadians of espionage as Huawei standoff intensifies

18:05  16 may  2019
18:05  16 may  2019 Source:

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Trump offers support to Canadians detained in China US President Donald Trump spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday and offered his support for Canadian citizens detained in China, the White House said. 

BEIJING — The Chinese authorities announced sweeping espionage accusations against two Canadians China and Canada have been caught in a similar standoff before. In 2014, the Chinese authorities arrested Related Coverage. As Huawei ’s Influence in Canada Grows, Some Fear Spying.

China accused two detained Canadians of working together to steal Chinese state secrets, moving ahead with a politically charged investigation seen as retribution for Canada ’s arrest of a senior Huawei executive. Chinese telecom giant Huawei has long caused tension between Washington and Beijing.

China formally accuses Canadians of espionage as Huawei standoff intensifies© Lindsey Wasson/Reuters Louis Huang holds a placard calling for China to release Canadian detainees Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig outside a court hearing for Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou at the B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, March 6, 2019. BEIJING —China on Thursday formally leveled grave espionage charges against two detained Canadians, raising the prospect of harsh punishment for the men caught in a spiraling three-way feud over the Trump administration’s treatment of the technology company Huawei.

China’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that prosecutors charged Michael Kovrig with “gathering state secrets and intelligence for overseas forces” and Michael Spavor with “stealing and providing state secrets to overseas forces.” The men were charged “recently,” ministry spokesman Lu Kang said without disclosing more specific timing.

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Arrest of Michael Kovrig, who works for thinktank, follows detention of Chinese Huawei executive in Canada .

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After holding Kovrig and Spavor in undisclosed locations since December, China confirmed the formal charges just as the U.S. government all but banned American companies from doing business with Chinese tech giant Huawei, a move that could badly cripple a firm considered by China to be a national symbol of industrial prowess.

In the last six months, the timing of Chinese action against Canadian citizens has reinforced suspicions that Beijing is targeting a close American ally in retaliation for what China says is an unfair American effort to hobble Huawei and jail one of its executives — a campaign that it says is aided and abetted by the Canadian government.

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China formally accused – but did not yet formally charge – Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig of espionage on Monday. The two were arrested soon after Canada detained Huawei executive and Communist royalty Meng Wanzhou for possible extradition to the United States.

China 's Foreign Ministry confirmed Thursday that it was holding two Canadian men on suspicion of Earlier, the Canadian government said that Michael Spavor, a China -based entrepreneur who The U.S. accuses Huawei of using a Hong Kong shell company to do business with Iran in violation of

“Everything in China is done in accordance with law,” Lu, the Chinese government spokesman, told reporters Thursday. “We hope Canada will not interfere with, or comment casually on, other countries’ lawful practices.”

Citing Huawei's threat to U.S. national security, the Commerce Department announced hours earlier on Wednesday that it has named Huawei to the so-called “Entity List.” The blacklist is known to some as a “death penalty” because global companies often struggle to survive once they are starved of doing business with American companies or sourcing American parts.

The U.S. move, which administration officials said was motivated in part by faltering trade discussions with China, was likely seen as deeply hostile by Chinese leaders and a stark reminder by Washington of China's dependence on the American supply chain. Chinese officials were alarmed and outraged in 2016 when the Commerce Department similarly put ZTE on the “Entity List,” which threatened to put that Chinese tech giant out of business practically overnight.

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The United States formally accused the Chinese of violating a 2015 agreement — brokered by The United States helped coordinate the arrest of a top executive of Huawei , the Chinese telecom giant “ China stands accused of engaging in criminal activity that victimizes individuals and companies in

The Chinese telecom company Huawei is at the centre of an increasingly tense standoff between China China ’s counter- espionage law says all companies and citizens have to “truthfully provide Concerns about Huawei ’s relationship with the Chinese government have led US politicians and

Lu on Thursday slammed the Trump administration's “unilateral sanctions” as an abuse of export control measures and said China would take steps to defend itself.

“When Chinese businesses are wrongfully treated, China has the right to take measures to safeguard our legitimate and lawful rights and interests,” he said.

Canada became entangled in the brewing U.S.-China showdown late last year.

Spavor, a businessman based near the China-North Korea border, and Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat and geopolitics researcher, were first detained by Chinese state security on Dec. 10, a week after Canadian airport authorities arrested senior Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the behest of U.S. law enforcement.

The Huawei chief financial officer has since been undergoing extradition proceedings in a Canadian court, which is deciding whether to send her to the United States to face bank fraud charges. China has urged Canadian authorities to release Meng and has repeatedly issued implicit warnings that Canada would pay a steep human price if she were handed over.

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BEIJING — China intensified its punitive campaign against Canada over the arrest of a top Chinese technology executive by arresting a second Canadian working here and announcing on Thursday Accusing the two men of national security crimes — as yet unspecified

Beijing sees cyber espionage as necessary for China 's national progress and will not be ending the practice on current terms, an expert said on Friday after the U.S. Justice Department announced hacking charges against two Chinese nationals.

Weeks after Meng’s arrest, China revisited a 15-year prison sentence for Canadian Robert L. Schellenberg and raised his sentence to death for trafficking drugs. Last week, a Chinese court scheduled Schellenberg's appeal hearing to begin hours after Meng faced an extradition hearing of her own in Vancouver. After a Canadian court pushed back a decision in Meng's case, the Chinese court also announced it would delay announcing whether Schellenberg would be put to death.

Canada has called on China to grant Schellenberg clemency and release Kovrig and Spavor. Meng's lawyers have argued that her constitutional rights were violated when she was interrogated for three hours at Vancouver's airport and should be released.

The formal arrest and charges against Kovrig and Spavor were first reported by the Globe and Mail newspaper on Thursday.

Since December, Kovrig and Spavor have been kept in cells at undisclosed locations with lights on round the clock and without access to lawyers or family members, people familiar with the matter say. The two have been allowed short consular visits once a month, during which they are not allowed to discuss the cases against them with Canadian diplomats.

The men have told Canadian officials that they have not been physically mistreated aside from extended sleep deprivation.

A Canadian judge this month allowed Meng to move from a $4.2 million mansion into a bigger $10 million mansion for security reasons. Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, owns several homes in Canada.

Meng must wear an ankle monitor as part of her bail terms, but she is free to roam Vancouver between the hours of 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. while she awaits her next extradition hearing, scheduled for September.

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