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Chinese tabloid says detained Canadians linked by photos of military equipment

reuters.com · 09/02/2021 00:00
Chinese tabloid says detained Canadians linked by photos of military equipment

- China's Global Times newspaper said on Thursday that Canadian businessman Michael Spavor, who was convicted of espionage in August, provided photographs of military equipment to fellow Canadian Michael Kovrig, who is also detained in China.

The state-run newspaper, citing an unidentified source, said the photos and images Spavor took of the equipment were state secrets and he also provided the photos to people outside China. Spavor was a "key informant" for Kovrig, the newspaper said.

China arrested Kovrig and Spavor in December 2018, soon after Canadian police detained Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei HWT.UL, on a U.S. warrant, charging her with sanctions-related fraud.

China, which rejects the accusation that the cases of the two Canadians are linked to Meng's, has released few details on either case.

The Canadian embassy in Beijing did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

A court sentenced Spavor to 11 years in prison for espionage last month, drawing condemnation from the United States and Canada, which has accused China of engaging in "hostage diplomacy".

Kovrig's espionage trial concluded in March with the verdict to be announced at an unspecified date.nL1N2PI07Y

The Global Times is published by the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily newspaper.

In Canada, a judge is due to rule on Meng's case on Oct. 21.

(Reporting by Gabriel Crossley
Editing by Robert Birsel)

((Gabriel.Crossley@thomsonreuters.com; +86 10 5669 2127;))