Canadians held in China since arrest of Huawei executive

Virginia Carson
January 5, 2019

"Authorities may impose curfews and travel restrictions on short notice", the State Department said.

"We have said here that these two Canadian citizens are under investigation in accordance with law for engaging in activities that undermine China's national security", said Lu.

Under these exit bans, U.S. citizens may be detained or forced to stay in China for an indefinite period of time and may be subject to harassment and interrogation.

He also said that the U.S. has in recent years "used various excuses and reasons to set up obstacles for Chinese citizens to enter the United States and conducted unprovoked inspections".

The two highest-profile Canadians China arrested - former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor - are still in detention.

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Kovrig and Spavor's detention came nine days after Canadian authorities in Vancouver arrested a top executive of Chinese technology giant Huawei on December 1, at the request of the US.

Ankit Panda, a New York City-based writer, editor and global affairs analyst, took to Twitter on Friday to say that he had chose to go ahead with a trip to China this month.

Five of them remain in custody - including ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor, whom China has accused of endangering national security.

The new advisory is an update to the previous advisory issued January 22, 2018.

The travel alert anxious Canadians too.

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The State Department took a break from the federal government's shutdown to warn people who are planning to visit China that they may never be able to return home.

"Increasing costs and a slowdown in the Chinese economy were already pushing some companies in this direction - now there is a very strong political push added to this calculation", Hunt said.

Thirteen Canadians have been detained in China following the arrest on December 1 of a senior executive from Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei, Ottawa said Thursday, with eight subsequently released. China's Ministry of Justice said Friday that the arrests were in compliance with the law and gave no details on the detainees' identities or charges.

In comparison, there are nearly 900 Canadians in a similar situation in the US.

He said he would not be leaving in the near future as he has siblings in China, and his job demanded his presence for now.

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"If we're prepared to go this could be a helpful indication of our relationship and our desire to continue that good relationship that we have with China".

A group of Canadian lawmakers travelling to China this weekend will use the trip to push for the release of two Canadians detained there since last month, says a Conservative MP in the delegation.

"Earlier, people dismissed it [the detentions] saying that the issue is about a political dispute, but now this is rolling on".

"I and the other members of the delegation will engage with Chinese officials in as constructive way as possible, with the obvious objective of seeing these two Canadians returned safely and as soon as possible", Cooper said.

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