Michael Kovrig (left) and Michael Spavor, the two Canadians detained in China, are shown in these 2018 images taken from video. A Chinese government spokesman says it is not “convenient” to do discuss the charges against two Canadians detained in China despite an assertion by the country’s top prosecutor that they broke the law. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP

China says it’s not ‘convenient’ to discuss charges against imprisoned Canadians

The mystery deepen surrounding the arrests of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor

A Chinese government spokesman says it is not “convenient” to discuss the charges against two Canadians detained in China despite an assertion by the country’s top prosecutor that they broke the law.

Foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang offered that explanation during a press conference in Beijing today, one of two cryptic Chinese government media events that deepened the mystery surrounding the arrests of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

The two were detained last month in what is widely viewed as Chinese retaliation for Canada’s arrest of high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, by the RCMP in Vancouver at the request of the United States.

RELATED: Chinese foreign ministry tells U.S., EU to take Canada to task for Meng arrest

The U.S. wants Meng to face fraud charges in the U.S. and she has been released on bail and is living in an upscale Vancouver home in advance of her extradition hearing.

Little is known about Kovrig’s or Spavor’s circumstances, because they’ve each had only a single consular visit by Canada’s ambassador to China, John McCallum, last month.

China’s chief prosecutor, Zhang Jun, told a Beijing briefing today “without a doubt” Kovrig and Spavor broke the country’s laws and are being investigated.

At a regular foreign-ministry briefing, Lu refused to elaborate on the nature of the charges.

“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. “It is not convenient to disclose more information now.”

Kovrig is a Canadian diplomat who was on a leave from Global Affairs Canada and was working in Beijing for the International Crisis Group, an organization that has written critically about China in the past.

Spavor is an entrepreneur who organized tours to North Korea.

RELATED: Aunt of Sarah McIver says she believes school officials in China made error

A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland reiterated Canada’s call for the release of the two men.

“We are deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of two Canadians last month and call for their immediate release,” said Adam Austen.

The government has sought the support of key allies in pressuring China to release Kovrig and Spavor.

The U.S State Department has called for the release of the two Canadians, while Germany, France, the European Union and Australia have also issued supportive statements.

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Delta man charged with attempted murder after Monday night stabbing

The victim was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

South Surrey woman mastering the stuff that matters

KonMari method, developed in Japan, draws on heart connection

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Delta bans clothing donation bins citing safety concerns

Owners have until Jan. 29 to remove the bins, after which the city will charge them for the removal

VIDEO: Delta police officer swims 12 hours for a good cause

DPD Const. Kelly Seib was raising funds for a young North Delta woman’s brain cancer treatment

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Thieves steal thousands from 140 Coast Capital Savings members

Online fraud tactics included phising and ‘brute force’ in November and December

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Man, two children sent to hospital after Vancouver carbon monoxide leak

Nine people were evacuated from the home in south Vancouver

Dog shot in foot with BB gun during cellphone sale at SkyTrain station

William Ayers, 28, is facing a number of charges after incident in Burnaby

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Most Read