Dec 13, 2018 12:57 UTC
  • Canada says 2nd citizen ‘missing’ in China, China confirms arrest

Government officials in Canada say a second Canadian citizen has gone “missing” in China, with Beijing saying he is being questioned over national security matters, days after Ottawa said Chinese authorities had detained a former Canadian diplomat.

Canada’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that it had been unable to contact Michael Spavor since he notified the government that he was being questioned by Chinese authorities.

“We are aware that a Canadian citizen, Mr. Michael Spavor, is presently missing in China,” 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.”

Shortly afterwards, a Chinese government website confirmed that Spavor — reportedly a businessman based in the northern Chinese city of Dandong — was in custody and was being questioned for “activities that endanger China’s national security,” without providing further details.

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

The development comes days after Canada said its national Michael Kovrig had been arrested on a trip to Beijing.

On Wednesday, Freeland, the Canadian foreign minister, warned Washington not to politicize extradition cases, a day after US President Donald Trump said he could intervene in Meng’s case if it helped seal a trade deal with China.

Freeland said it was obvious the legal process should not be hijacked for political purposes and that Meng’s lawyers would have the option of raising Trump’s remarks if they decided to fight extradition.