Chinese prosecutors have formally indicted two Canadian citizens on espionage charges more than 18 months after the men were first detained, advancing a pair of cases widely seen as retribution for Canada’s arrest of a well-connected Chinese Huawei executive, reported the Wall Street Journal.
Michael Kovrig, a researcher and former Canadian diplomat, was charged with “probing into state secrets and intelligence” on behalf of foreign actors, while entrepreneur Michael Spavor was accused of “probing into and illegally providing state secrets” to foreign actors, according to separate announcements issued Friday by municipal prosecutors’ offices in Beijing and the northeastern city of Dandong.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday the Canadian government was disappointed with the decision to indict Kovrig and Spavor and that Chinese authorities had linked their cases to legal proceedings in Canada against Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies’ executive Meng Wanzhou.
“It is unfortunate that China does not seem to understand that our judicial processes are independent of the government and completely free of any kind of government interference,” Trudeau said. “We also understand that China doesn’t work the same way that we do.”