BEIJING – We are learning more about the number of Canadians detained in China since the arrest of a tech executive in Vancouver last month.
The Communist Party-ruled country continues to detain two Canadian men who were arrested about a month ago for allegedly undermining national security.
Now, Global Affairs confirms 13 people from Canada have been taken into custody since early December — although, at least eight have since been released and returned to Canada.
— Amanda Wawryk (@AmandaWawryk) January 4, 2019
Ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor are among those who remain in custody. China has accused the pair of endangering national security.
A chorus of experts and international groups have condemned the detentions, calling them clearly politically motivated, with the intention of pressuring Ottawa to release Mong Wanzhou, the CFO of Huawei who is awaiting possible extradition to the U.S. on fraud charges.
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The former Canadian ambassador to China has raised doubts about the likelihood of due process being granted to detained Canadians, arguing the Beijing courts are little more than an instrument of the state.
A delegation of lawmakers from Parliament Hill are set to leave for China on Friday, where they intend to ask about the detentions and push for the men’s release.
Conservative MP Michael Cooper says his six-member group of Liberal and Conservative MPs and senators will go ahead with their previously scheduled mission to China, as advised by Global Affairs Canada, despite diplomatic tensions between the two countries.