Home Canadian News Second Canadian missing in China after diplomat detained: Freeland

Second Canadian missing in China after diplomat detained: Freeland


Canada’s foreign affairs minister says the location of a second Canadian, who contacted consular officials to say he or she was being questioned by Chinese authorities, is unknown — one day after news that a Canadian diplomat, currently on leave from the department, had been detained.
In a news conference on Wednesday, Freeland said Global Affairs Canada has not been able to contact or locate the individual since he or she first contacted Canadian officials.
Freeland would not say whether the individual was a diplomat, a tourist or a businessperson, citing privacy concerns. Freeland said Canadian officials have been in touch with the person’s family.
Canada’s travel advisory to China remains unchanged, Freeland said, before urging Canadians to remain vigilant. She said all travellers to China should continue to consult Global Affairs’ website for more information.
On Tuesday, word broke that Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig, who took a leave of absence from Global Affairs in 2016 and is currently employed by the International Crisis Group, had been detained by Chinese officials, which Freeland confirmed Wednesday. He’s still considered an employee of Global Affairs.
Kovrig’s location remains unknown. Chinese media outlet Beijing News reported Wednesday that Kovrig was being investigated by the Beijing State Security Bureau.
Freeland said Canadian officials, including Canadian ambassador John McCallum, are in regular contact with Chinese officials about Canada’s legal process. Freeland said she has spoken to McCallum and with Kovrig’s family.
“He is well-known to many people in the department. We are very concerned about him,” she said.
Diplomatic tensions have escalated between Canada and China after Canadian law enforcement arrested Meng Wanzhou — chief financial officer for Chinese telecom giant Huawei and daughter of its founder — on Dec. 1 in Vancouver. The United States wants Meng extradited to face allegations she violated U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Canada “promptly” gave Chinese officials notice of Meng’s arrest and allowed her “prompt” access to consular assistance. The same response has not been awarded to Canadian officials by Beijing.
“We are very seized of this issue,” Freeland said. Canada is asking for consular access “to understand the situation better.”
China, she said, has not explicitly tied Kovrig’s detention to Meng’s arrest. Meng was granted bail on Tuesday after a British Columbia judge set bail at $10 million and imposed 16 conditions on her, including 24/7 electronic surveillance.
Beijing has called the arrest a “political conspiracy,” and threatened over the weekend to retaliate against Canada if Meng was not released. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Freeland have both insisted the arrest was not politically motivated.
Canada is a country that abides by the “rule of law,” Freeland said Wednesday, adding that Canada’s judicial system is independent of its legislative system.
U.S. President Donald Trump told Reuters he was willing to intervene in the Meng case —just hours after his top envoy to Canada insisted the arrest was not politically motivated,
“Whatever’s good for this country, I would do,” Trump said in the interview. “If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made — which is a very important thing, what’s good for national security — I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary.”
Freeland told reporters Canada expects all countries that make extradition requests to follow Canada’s rule of law. She also said she spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when Meng was arrested and told him Meng would be “treated fairly and impartially in Canadian courts.”
She said extradition partners should ensure that “the rule of law is respected and is not politicized or used for any other purpose.”
Canada’s attorney general has the ability to veto an extradition request. once legal procedures are concluded.
Earlier this week, Freeland told the Toronto Global Forum that Canada was simply following the rule of law — a statement she repeated on Wednesday.
With filesfrom Marieke Walsh
source: iPolitics.ca