In a major development, China has begun the trial against former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig in an espionage case in a closed courtroom in Beijing. The development comes days after the United States raised the issue during its bilateral talks with the Communist regime.
Kovrig has been held in China since December 2018, after Canadian police detained the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Huwaei Meng Wanzhou. While speaking about the trial, Jim Nickel of the Candian Embassy in China said, “We’ve requested access to Michael Kovrig’s hearing repeatedly but that access is being denied. Now we see that the court process itself is not transparent. We’re very troubled by this.”
On Monday, around 28 diplomats from 26 countries stood outside the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate Court to show solidarity with ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig. The countries included the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands and so on. The diplomats took off their masks, posed for a photo outside the Court premises and yelled the name of their respective countries. Earlier in February this year, a total of 50 countries signed a declaration calling out China for ‘arbitrary detention’ of foreigners for political motives.
In a reprise of scenes from Friday, Canadian diplomats at the trial for Michael Kovrig are being kept outside the courthouse in Beijing. pic.twitter.com/AygaB626BU— Nathan VanderKlippe (@nvanderklippe) March 21, 2021
William Kelin, who serves as the charge d’affaires of the U.S. embassy in China, said that President Joe Biden and State Secretary Antony Blinken will treat Kovrig’s case as if he was a US citizen. Besides him, a Canadian businessman by the name of Michael Spavor has also been held in China.
The trial of Michale Spavor also took place behind closed doors
Spavor’s trial took place in Dandong on Friday, again behind a closed courtroom. Diplomats were also barred from entering the courtroom. China has, however, justified the move, calling it a case of ‘national security. Given that China has a 99% conviction rate, their conviction is highly likely. Experts believe that both Canadian citizens will be released, following a diplomatic agreement between China and Canada.
Wife of Michael Kovrig speaks out
Given that China has a 99% conviction rate, his trial was dubbed ‘completely ‘unacceptable’, ‘non-transparent’ and ‘hostage diplomacy’ by the Canadian government. While speaking on the development, Michael Kovrig’s wife Vina Nadjibulla emphasised, “Michael and Michael Spavor are innocent Canadians caught up in a bigger geopolitical dispute. Their detention is profoundly unjust and our focus must remain on securing their freedom.
Justin Trudeau reluctant to term China’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims as genocide
Canada’s Conservative Party had called for the House of Commons to declare that the Chinese government was committing genocide against the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang after the Canadian Prime Minister showed reluctance to term the Chinese atrocities on Uyghurs as ‘genocide’. After speaking to fellow G7 leaders, Trudeau had suggested that the best approach would be to seek broad consensus among Western allies on Chinese human rights issues.
Some classified documents disclosed in December last year had revealed Trudeau’s dangerous China policy as the documents showed that Canada had invited the Chinese Army for cold-weather combat training despite opposition from the USA. It was also revealed that Trudeau was upset with the Canadian Armed Forces for cancelling the training after China kidnapped Canadian citizens Michael Sapvor and Michael Kovrig.