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Rally marks 1,000 days since China detained two Canadians amid Huawei dispute

Stock MarketsSep 06, 2021 05:22AM ET
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5/5 © Reuters. Supporters of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor march to mark 1,000 days since the Canadians were arrested in China, during a protest in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada September 5, 2021. REUTERS/Blair Gable 2/5

(Reuters) - Supporters of two Canadians accused of spying and held in prison in China for 1,000 days rallied on Sunday, demanding their release in a case that has soured diplomatic ties between Ottawa and Beijing.

Businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig were detained in December 2018, shortly after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies on a warrant from the United States.

Last month, a Chinese court sentenced Spavor to 11 years in prison for espionage. Meng is waiting verdict on her U.S. extradition request https://www.reuters.com/world/what-happens-next-huawei-cfo-mengs-canada-extradition-case-2021-08-18 after the hearing wrapped up in a British Columbia court last month.

Several hundred people gathered at a park in Ottawa, with some wearing white shirts printed "March for the Michaels," "7,000 steps for freedom," carrying banner "#bringthemhome.

"Every day in his cell, Michael Kovrig walks 7,000 steps to keep his mind and body healthy. Michael Spavor uses yoga, meditation and exercises to stay strong," the families wrote on a Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) page seeking support for the event.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has called a snap election https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/early-canada-election-call-backfires-trudeau-who-now-trails-polls-2021-09-03 for Sept. 20, is trailing his main opponent, Conservative Party leader Erin O'Toole, who has demanded a tougher approach against China.

"We have to deal with the Communist leadership in China, as it is not as Mr. Trudeau may have hoped it was. He's always been out of step with respect to our interests and our values. So I've said Canada will be a leader on human rights again,” O'Toole told reporters in Vancouver on Saturday.

Trudeau, when asked about criticism that his government had not done enough to free the two Michaels, said on Sunday when dealing with citizens in trouble abroad, "we use all the tools at our disposal, usually not shouting in the public square."

He said the government over the past 1,000 days had put forward all the different range of tools to put pressure on the Chinese government to return the two men.

"We will not rest until the two Michaels are once again home with their families," he told reporters.

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau, who joined the rally, said in statement that years have been cruelly stolen from both men and their families.

"This must stop. Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor must come home," the statement added.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular press briefing in Beijing on Monday that Garneau's statement was a "blatant interference of China's judicial sovereignty".

Rally marks 1,000 days since China detained two Canadians amid Huawei dispute
 

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Comments (7)
Mohd Aznan
Aznan Sep 06, 2021 4:33PM ET
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When you think you can detain anyone you like and the other party showed they can do the same.. how does it feel?
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Sep 06, 2021 6:11AM ET
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Canada is so far up China's exhaust, and are now being shown what diddling terrorists gets you.. 'Lil Trudi is a feckless wimp.. That said, the Chinese woman at the center of it is a criminal nonetheless, and deserves to be in an American prison.
The Watcher
Watcher412 Sep 06, 2021 5:28AM ET
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They better release Meng Wanzhou without any scratches if they really care about both Micheal - you can't treat China and the Chinese diaspora like you did the First Nations whitey
Sean Livingstone
Sean Livingstone Sep 05, 2021 7:28PM ET
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Canada can detain anyone they like... I see...
Ramos Thapaliya
Ramos Thapaliya Sep 05, 2021 4:32PM ET
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I like how the western media and leaders present human right . They have killed millions of innocent people in the name of human right and somehow their public still buys it.. oh and china and russia are the bad guys… hahaha
New Jazenevd
New Jazenevd Sep 05, 2021 4:28PM ET
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Did Ms.Trudeau try kowtowing? It worked in China in past.
Richard Ellis
Richard Ellis Sep 05, 2021 3:10PM ET
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The left-wing process which Trudeau used to get the two men released from China is the same process which the Biden Admin is trying to use to get the rest of their American citizens out of Afghanistan. It doesn't work on bad guys like the CCP and Taliban when your in a position of weakness.
 
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