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Canada demands China release Canadians for the first time

Canada demands China release Canadians for the first time

Sources have told Reuters that Michael Kovrig, one of the two men, was not allowed to see a lawyer.

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou talks with a member of her private security detail after they went into a wrong building while arriving at a parole office in Vancouver, British Columbia, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. Spavor is a businessman known for running cultural exchanges with North Korea.

Analysts have said the detentions are likely retaliatory measures taken by China after Canada took into custody Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei, on behalf of the United States, where she is wanted on fraud allegations.

Freeland said Canada is honouring its extradition treaty with the U.S. and said it is conducting a fair and transparent legal proceeding with respect to Meng.

"We share Canada's commitment to the rule of law as fundamental to all free societies, and we will defend and uphold this principle". "She has been given absolute access to due process and the independent Canadian judicial system", Freeland said. The demand marks an escalation from Ottawa, which has thus far remained mum - an approach which has earned Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticism from the opposition.

"The Chinese side protects the legitimate rights and interests of Michael Kovrig and also helped facilitate the Canadian side's efforts to fulfill their consular duties", Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said at a regular briefing in Beijing on Friday.

The toughening tone from the prime minister came the same day that Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said that Canada is instructing its ambassadors and urging its allies to push for the pair's release.

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"China doesn't hesitate to use blunt talk with its partners, and nor should we, especially when the health and safety of our fellow Canadians are concerned", he wrote. Canada is a country governed by the rule of law. "This is about the rule of law".

Freeland said she continues to be in discussions with Allies over the arrests of the Canadians, and that she's very gratified by their response.

The US, the United Kingdom and the European Union also issued statements in support of Canada, which has abandoned previous diplomatic caution to demand the men are freed.

A third Canadian was also recently detained in China, though her case is said to be unrelated to the other two.

Hugh Pope, a spokesman for Kovrig's employer, the International Crisis Group, a think tank that analyzes conflicts and geopolitical flashpoints, said Kovrig "must be exhausted and stressed".

In an opinion piece submitted to the Post, Dahlin wrote that the detentions present an opportunity for Canada and its allies to present a strong, united front. No country, including the USA, spoke out publicly in support of Canada.

Canadian news outlet CBC News, citing the country's extradition laws on December 7, reported that Ottawa has the power to reject extradition requests that it considers oppressive or politically motivated.


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