Canada Granted Consular Access To Ex-Diplomat Arrested By China: Official


The Canadian foreign ministry identified the second Canadian as Michael Spavor. (File)

Canada: 

Canada’s ambassador met in Beijing Friday with a detained former diplomat for the first time since he was arrested in China amid sharpening East-West tensions over trade and other issues.

Michael Kovrig, the former diplomat, and a second Canadian, Michael Spavor, were taken into custody earlier in the week after a top Chinese tech executive was arrested in Vancouver at the request of the United States.

Canada’s foreign ministry said its ambassador to Beijing, John McCallum, was granted consular access to Kovrig on Friday and is pressing for access to Spavor.

Meanwhile in Washington, Canada’s foreign and defense ministers held talks with their US counterparts on the row.

The Canadians were arrested for what Beijing has said is suspicion of “harm to national security” — a phrase often used by Beijing when alleging espionage.

But the detentions are widely believed to be retaliation for Canada’s arrest December 1 of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.

Meng was arrested while changing planes in Vancouver, outraging China and sparking a diplomatic standoff between the North American allies and Beijing.

The United States has accused her of lying to bankers about the use of a covert subsidiary to sell to Iran in breach of sanctions. If convicted, she faces more than 30 years in prison.

On Tuesday a Canadian judge ordered Meng’s released on Can$10 million (US$7.5 million) bail, pending a US extradition hearing.

– Visit shelved –
Canadian Tourism Minister Melanie Joly, meanwhile, shelved a trip to China next week to promote this country as a top destination for leisure travel.

“Canada and China mutually agreed to postpone the Canada-China Year of Tourism Closing Ceremony and Minister Joly’s planned travel to China,” her office said in a statement.

Since Beijing approved Canada as a tourist destination for its citizens in 2010, the number of Chinese tourists visiting Canada has risen by 20 percent per year to almost 700,000 in 2017.

Ottawa had hoped to double the figure by 2021, opening seven new visa application offices in China this year to facilitate the processing of travel documents. But those targets are now in doubt amid a public backlash in China.

Kovrig, who works for the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank, was being investigated by the Beijing bureau of state security, while the agency’s office in northeast Liaoning province was handling the probe into Spavor, Lu said.

Spavor is a China-based business consultant who facilitates trips to North Korea, met with its leader Kim Jong Un and arranged some of retired NBA star Dennis Rodman’s trips to the country.

China’s foreign ministry said ICG was not registered in China and its employees would be “in violation” of the law if they engage in activities in the country.

ICG closed its office in the Chinese capital after Beijing passed a law on NGOs, which came into force in 2017, to better control the activities on its soil of foreign organizations.

Kovrig was based in Hong Kong for ICG, working on foreign policy and security issues in the region, particularly on the Korean Peninsula.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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Referring to national security given by China, a Chinese entrepreneur fears to be detained in China


चीन के विदेश मंत्रालय के प्रवक्ता लू कांग के अनुसार कनाडा के पूर्व राजनयिक माइकल कोवरिग और कारोबारी सलाहकार माइकल स्पावोर को सोमवार को हिरासत में लिया और इसे अनिवार्य बताया.

चीन का पलटवार, राष्ट्रीय सुरक्षा का हवाला देकर कनाडा के दो नागरिकों को हिरासत में लिया

सांकेतिक तस्वीर





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China Says Two Canadians Suspected Of Threatening National Security


The Canadian foreign ministry identified the second Canadian as Michael Spavor.

Beijing, China: 

China confirmed on Thursday that two Canadian nationals are being investigated on suspicion of engaging in “activities that threatened” national security.

Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and business consultant Michael Spavor were put under “compulsory measures” on Monday in different regions, said foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang, who did not explain if the measures mean that the men are arrested.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)





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Canada Says Second Citizen Questioned In China Now ‘Missing’


The Canadian foreign ministry identified the second Canadian as Michael Spavor.

Beijing, China: 

A second Canadian citizen who has been questioned by authorities in China is “presently missing”, Canadian officials said Thursday, adding to tensions following the arrest of a top Chinese telecom executive on a US request in Vancouver.

The Canadian foreign ministry identified the second Canadian as Michael Spavor, a China-based business consultant who facilitates trips to North Korea, met with its leader Kim Jong Un and famously arranged some of retired NBA star Dennis Rodman’s visits there.

His disappearance emerged after former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig, who works for the International Crisis Group think tank, was detained during a visit to Beijing on Monday.

Kovrig’s arrest was seen by experts as retaliation over Canada’s arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, at Washington’s request on allegations related to breaking Iran sanctions.

Meng was released on Can$10 million (US$7.5 million) bail by a court in Vancouver on Tuesday pending a US extradition hearing.

Meng’s case has infuriated Beijing and shaken Canada’s relations with China, which is itself embroiled in a trade war with the United States.

“We are aware that a Canadian citizen, Mr. Michael Spavor, is presently missing in China,” Canadian foreign ministry spokesman Guillaume Berube told AFP in an email.

“We have been unable to make contact since he let us know he was being questioned by Chinese authorities,” he said.

Before Spavor’s identity was disclosed, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told a press conference that the Canadian government was “working very hard to ascertain his whereabouts and we have also raised his case with Chinese authorities.”

China’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to faxed questions.

Kim and Rodman

Spavor is based in northeast China, where he runs the Paektu Cultural Exchange programme, an organisation that facilitates sport, cultural, tourism and business trips to North Korea.

He earned recognition after helping facilitate visits by former Chicago Bulls star Rodman in 2013 and 2014. Spavor has also appeared in North Korean state media photos showing him talking with Kim a few years ago.

AFP’s attempts to call his two cellphone numbers were met with messages saying “powered off” or “invalid” and calls to the Paektu Cultural Exchange office went unanswered.

Kovrig’s fate is also unknown, as Chinese authorities have yet to confirm why he is being held.

His employer, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, said he was detained by the Beijing bureau of Chinese state security Monday night, but it has not received any information since then.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Wednesday that ICG was not registered in China and its employees would be “in violation” of the law if they engage in activities in the country.

The Beijing News newspaper reported Wednesday that Kovrig was under investigation on suspicion of “engaging in activities that endanger China’s national security” — a phrase often used in espionage cases.

Canadian officials said they were officially informed via fax early Wednesday of Kovrig’s detention.

“Canada is deeply concerned about the detention of Mr. Kovrig and Canada has raised the case directly with Chinese officials,” Freeland said.

Kovrig was based in Hong Kong for ICG, working on foreign policy and security issues in the region, particularly on the Korean Peninsula.

ICG closed its office in the Chinese capital after Beijing passed a law on NGOs, which came into force in 2017, to better control the activities on its soil of foreign organisations.

Friends and experts say Kovrig may have become a “hostage” and “pawn” in the three-nation feud.

“In this case it is clear the Chinese government wants to put maximum pressure on the Canadian government,” Guy Saint-Jacques, the former Canadian ambassador to Beijing, told AFP.

Politicising extradition?

Freeland has also indirectly criticised statements by US President Donald Trump, who said in an interview on Tuesday he was ready to intervene in the Meng affair if it helped seal a trade deal with China.

“Our extradition partners should not seek to politicise the extradition process or use it for ends other than the pursuit of justice and following the rule of law,” the Canadian minister said.

Asked by Reuters if he would intervene with the Justice Department in her case, Trump had been quoted as saying: “Whatever’s good for this country, I would do.”

Freeland said it would be “up to Ms. Meng’s lawyers whether they choose to raise comments in the US as part of their defence of Ms. Meng.”

It “will be up to the Canadian judicial process, to Canadian judges, how to weigh the significance of what Ms Meng’s lawyers say.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)





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Canada Ex-Diplomat Detained In China, Says Justin Trudeau


Justin Trudeau said Canada is taking Michael Kovrig’s arrest “very seriously” (File Photo)

Ottawa: 

A Canadian, believed to be a former diplomat, has been detained in China, prompting concern in Ottawa and Washington, as Beijing fumes over the arrest of a senior technology executive.

“We are aware of the situation of a Canadian detained in China. We have been in direct contact with the Chinese,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters, adding that Ottawa was taking his arrest “very seriously.”

The International Crisis Group earlier said it was aware of reports of the detention of its employee Michael Kovrig, a Chinese-speaking expert who served as a Canadian diplomat in Beijing, Hong Kong and at the United Nations.

“We are doing everything possible to secure additional information on Michael’s whereabouts as well as his prompt and safe release,” the think tank said in a statement.

The United States reacted quickly, calling on Beijing to abide by its commitments to human rights.

“We urge China to end all forms of arbitrary detentions and to respect the protections and freedom of all individuals under China’s international human rights and consular commitments,” deputy State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters.”

There was no immediate official word from China but the detention comes after Canada’s arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of telecoms giant Huawei, on a US extradition request.

Meng, who was stopped while changing planes in Vancouver, is suspected of violating US sanctions on Iran.

Earlier Tuesday, China warned that it would not tolerate any “bullying” of its citizens abroad and has demanded Meng’s release.

A judge in Vancouver was expected to make a ruling later Tuesday on whether Meng could be released on bail.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Ottawa was “deeply concerned” by the detention of one of its citizens, adding that he had expressed to Beijing “how seriously Canadians view this.”

“We are obviously worried about whenever a Canadian is put in a situation that puts them at some risk or jeopardy where there’s no apparent or obvious cause or trigger for that,” he told reporters.

He added that there was “no explicit indication” that Kovrig’s detention was linked to Meng’s arrest.

Kovrig went to work last year for the ICG, which is known for its research on peaceful solutions to global conflicts.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Google Must Scrap Censored ‘Dragonfly’ China Search Engine Plans, Say NGOs


Google must abandon its development of a censored search engine for China, dozens of NGOs demanded Tuesday, warning personal data would not be safe from Beijing authorities.

A global coalition of 60 human rights and media groups wrote to Google chief executive Sundar Pichai urging him to scrap the “Dragonfly” project, which has already sparked opposition from the US tech giant’s own staff. 

Pichai in October acknowledged publicly for the first time that the company is considering a Chinese search engine, saying it could offer “better information” than rival services.

But Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a signatory to the letter, said Pichai must think again.

“In addition to being totally opaque and contrary to the values that Google relies on, the Dragonfly project offers no guarantee of data confidentiality,” said Cedric Alviani, director of RSF’s East Asia Office.

“Beijing collects massive quantities of personal data for purposes of censorship and surveillance, including against journalists and their sources.”

RSF said China ranked 176 out of 180 countries in its Freedom of the Press Index.

Google shut down its search engine in China in 2010, refusing Beijing’s requirement to censor search results.

Pichai has described Dragonfly as an effort to learn what Google could offer if it resumed its search operations in the world’s second largest economy.

However, opposition to the plans is growing. 

Amnesty International warned last month that a search application designed to filter out censored content from results could damage all internet users’ trust in Google, the world’s leading search engine. 

Some 90 Google employees in November posted an open letter saying the service would set a dangerous precedent.

US internet titans have long struggled with doing business in China, home of a “Great Firewall” that blocks politically sensitive content, such as the 1989 Tiananmen massacre. 

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and The New York Times website are blocked in China, but Microsoft’s Bing search engine continues to operate.



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After Executive’s Arrest, China Warns Against Bullying Of Citizens


Huawei Executive Meng Wanzhou faces a possible extradition to the US.

Beijing: 

China’s foreign minister warned Tuesday against the “bullying” of any Chinese citizen, amid a diplomatic fracas over the arrest of a Huawei executive on a US warrant in Canada.

Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of telecommunications behemoth Huawei, was on December 1 arrested in Vancouver on US fraud charges related to sanctions-breaking dealings with Iran, infuriating China.

“The safety and security of Chinese compatriots are our priority, China will never sit idly by and ignore any bullying that violates the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a speech in Beijing, without directly referring to the Huawei case.

“We will fully safeguard the legitimate rights of Chinese citizens and return fairness and justice to the world,” he said at the opening of a diplomatic symposium.

The detention has raised tensions following a truce in the US-China trade war, with Beijing summoning both the Canadian and US ambassadors over the weekend.

Meng, who faces a possible extradition to the United States, is seeking her release on bail from a court in Vancouver.

China has accused Canada of treating Meng in an “inhumane” manner, citing reports in Chinese state-run media alleging she was not given adequate medical care.

Beijing has also claimed that the Chinese embassy was not immediately notified of her arrest.

“The Canadian government did not do this and the Chinese government learned this through other channels,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a daily briefing.

In his speech, Wang also touched on tensions with the US, calling on Washington to stop seeing trade between the countries as a “zero-sum game”.

“Take a more positive look at China’s development, and constantly expand the space and prospects for mutual benefit,” he said.

“There is no need to artificially create new opponents, and an even greater need to avoid self-fulfilling prophecies.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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china puts pressure on united states and canada before the hearing on bail plea of huawei officer


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China Slams “Inhumane” Treatment Of Huawei Executive


Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, has filed court papers in Vancouver(File)

BEIJING: 

China today protested Canada’s “inhumane” treatment of an executive of telecom giant Huawei who is being held on a US extradition bid, citing reports she was not getting sufficient medical care.

Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, has filed court papers in Vancouver arguing she should be released on bail from her Canadian jail.

In a sworn affidavit, the 46-year-old woman said she has been treated in a Canadian hospital for hypertension since she was arrested on December 1 for possible extradition.

China’s state-run Global Times newspaper reported, without citing sources, that “it seems that the Canadian detention facility is not offering her the necessary health care.”

“We believe this is inhumane and violates her human rights,” foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a regular press briefing, citing such reports.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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China Court Bans iPhone Sales In Patent Dispute: Qualcomm


Apple’s most recent quarterly report showed it brought in some $11 billion from “Greater China”

Washington: 

A Chinese court ordered a ban in the country on iPhone sales in a patent dispute between US chipmaker Qualcomm and Apple, according to a Qualcomm statement Monday.

The statement said the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court had granted Qualcomm’s request for two preliminary injunctions against four subsidiaries of Apple, ordering them to immediately to stop selling the iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X.

The move marked the latest in a long-running dispute over patents and royalties between the two California tech giants playing out in courts and administrative bodies worldwide.

“Apple continues to benefit from our intellectual property while refusing to compensate us. These court orders are further confirmation of the strength of Qualcomm’s vast patent portfolio,” said Don Rosenberg, Qualcomm executive vice president and general counsel in Monday’s statement.

The China case is based on patents which enable consumers to adjust and reformat the size and appearance of photographs, and to manage applications using a touchscreen, Qualcomm said.

An Apple statement to AFP called Qualcomm’s effort a “desperate move by a company whose illegal practices are under investigation by regulators around the world.”

Apple added that Qualcomm “is asserting three patents they had never raised before, including one which has already been invalidated.”

Apple said that “all iPhone models remain available for our customers in China,” adding that “we will pursue all our legal options through the courts.”

The court action also comes amid a backdrop of increased trade tensions between Washington and Beijing and the arrest in Canada of a top executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei at the request of US authorities.

Beijing has reacted angrily to the arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the company’s founder, who faces US fraud charges related to alleged sanctions-breaking dealings with Iran.

Apple’s China Strategy

China has been an important market for Apple in recent years since China Mobile agreed to begin distributing the smartphones, and the company has opened up a number of Apple retail stores in the court.

Apple’s most recent quarterly report showed it brought in some $11 billion — around 18 percent of its total revenues — from “Greater China,” a region which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has made regular visits to China, and has touted the company’s inroads in the Chinese market as well as its manufacturing there.

Qualcomm, the leading supplier of chips for mobile devices, has been in a prolonged legal battle with Apple in recent years.

Apple has claimed that Qualcomm is abusing its market power over certain mobile chipsets in order to demand unfair royalties, joining a string of antitrust actions against the chipmaker.

Qualcomm has countersued Apple and earlier this year escalated its legal fight, claiming the iPhone maker stole trade secrets and shared them with mobile chip rival Intel.

According to Qualcomm’s US lawsuit, Apple’s goal was to buy mobile chips from Intel instead of depending on Qualcomm.

Qualcomm is facing antitrust probes in South Korea, the European Union and the United States over its dominant position.

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