As a high-profile Chinese businesswoman awaits the outcome of her bail hearing in Vancouver, Reuters has reported that a former Canadian diplomat has been taken into custody in China.
Michael Kovrig works for the International Crisis Group, which is trying to have him freed, according to two unnamed sources cited by the news agency.
"We are doing everything possible to secure additional information on Michael's whereabouts as well as his prompt and safe release," the organization said in a statement to Reuters.
Kovrig was hired by the International Crisis Group in February 2017 and is a senior adviser for North East Asia on foreign affairs and global security issues.
It describes itself as an independent nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that's committed to preventing and resolving deadly conflicts.
In the past, Kovrig worked as a Canadian diplomat in Beijing and Hong Kong, and at the United Nations, according to the ICG website. He's a fluent Mandarin speaker.
On December 9, China warned Canadian ambassador John McCallum that there would be consequences for Canada if it didn't free Huawei Technologies Co. chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou.
There's no official word on whether the detention of Kovrig in China is linked to the arrest of Meng in Vancouver earlier this month. She will be in B.C. Supreme Court this morning on the third day of her bail hearing.
Meng was taken into custody when she was changing flights at Vancouver International Airport. The U.S. government wants her extradited to face charges related to violating a trade embargo with Iran. Meng has denied the allegations, which have not been proven in court.
Kovrig's Twitter account has been retweeting articles about Huawei and Meng's bail hearing.
When the Financial Times published an opinion piece saying Huawei should be prohibited from participating in the development of 5G networks in the U.K., Kovrig stated over social media: "Sensible cautionary advice on Huawei".
In October, Kovrig wrote an article about China's deepening military and business ties with African countries.
"If China’s stepped-up military cooperation only reinforces incumbents and strengthens African security forces, in particular repressive and authoritarian regimes, that alone is unlikely to make Africa more peaceful," Kovrig concluded in the piece. "Of course, China is hardly alone in making that mistake—some Western countries have much longer histories of doing so."