Two Canadians detained in China—Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor—accused of spying by foreign ministry

This comes shortly after the Canadian government announced that an extradition hearing would proceed against Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou

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      Two Canadians have been accused of endangering state security in China more than two months after being arrested.

      Michael Kovrig, a diplomat on leave from Global Affairs Canada, was detained while working for the International Crisis Group, which is a nongovernmental organization.

      The Chinese foreign ministry says he's being held after being caught spying and stealing sensitive information.

      China has accused businessman Michael Spavor, who's also being held, of gathering intelligence for Kovrig.

      "I believe you are well aware that it is common practice for all countries in the world to deal with cases concerning national security in this way," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said in his regular media briefing today.

      Canada's foreign affairs minister, Chrystia Freeland, has demanded the immediate release of Kovrig and Spavor, describing their arrests as "arbitrary" detentions.

      Michael Kovrig was on leave from Global Affairs Canada when he was arrested in China.
      International Crisis Group

      The news of the allegations against the two men comes three days after Canada's Department of Justice said that it would allow the extradition case to proceed against Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou.

      She was arrested at Vancouver International Airport on a provisional warrant after the U.S. government alleged that she violated banking laws.

      Meng was later charged in the U.S. with bank and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud in connection with an alleged Huawei subsidiary that has been accused of violating a U.S. embargo on Iran.

      Meng has denied the allegations. She recently filed a lawsuit against the RCMP, Canadian Border Security Agency officials, and the Canadian government, claiming that her constitutional rights were violated when she was arrested.

      She's out on bail in Vancouver and her next court appearance is on Wednesday (March 6).