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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pitt Meadows film premiere offers hope to people with learning disabilities

In Normal Isn’t Real four subjects who have learning disabilities and ADHD, share their success stories

Marching for those who’ve disappeared

Fifth annual event in Memorial Peace Park

Letter: Other cities have declared climate emergencies

Maple Ridge should do what’s right for our planet

Elementary students are hoping the city will recognize Real Acts of Caring week

Pitt Meadows students participate in Real Acts of Caring week

West Coast Express to resume after pipeline protests block rail tracks overnight

The demonstration was in support of Wet’suwet’en members who oppose Coastal GasLink

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

B.C. man released from quarantined cruise ship in Japan

Because Spencer Fehrenbacher has American citzensip, he was evacuated by the U.S.

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Most Read