The prosecution of two Canadians detained by Chinese authorities on spying allegations in December, 2018 has officially begun, according to China Daily.
Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig was charged today with the crime of ‘prying into state secrets and intelligence gathering for overseas forces’ by the No. 2 branch of Beijing’s People’s Procuratorate. Meanwhile in Dandong, Michael Spavor was charged with ‘stealing and illegally providing state secrets to overseas forces.’
The Canadians have been held for over 18 months and were initially detained on ‘suspicions of engaging in activities that endanger national security.’
No further details of the cases have been made public, and today’s charges mark the first major development in the duo’s prosecution.
The cases have garnered global attention and authorities in Canada and other Western nations have suggested the arrests were politically motivated retaliation for the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on December 1, 2018. No evidence has been given to back up the claim, and Chinese authorities have denied any link between Meng’s case and the fate of the two Canadians.