Daily US Times: A Chinese court on Wednesday found Canadian businessman Michael Spavor guilty of spying, sentencing him to 11 years in prison. The sentencing is likely to further undermine already poor relations between Canada and China.
Spavor “was convicted of espionage and illegally providing state secrets”, Dandong city’s Intermediate People’s Court said in a statement.
The statement added: “He was sentenced to 11 years in prison.”
The court said Spavor, whose closed-door trial in March this year lasted little more than two hours, would also be deported but didn’t say when, and confiscated some of his personal property.
Spavor, who for years ran a travel and cultural exchange business between China and North Korea, is one of two Canadians who were detained in China in December 2018, shortly after Canada arrested the chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, Meng Wanzhou, on an extradition request by the United States.
Michael Kovrig, an analyst with the International Crisis Group, also faces spying charges in China and was tried shortly after Spavor in March, but his verdict is yet to come.
Canada has said the detentions of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are linked to Meng’s case, which China has denied.
Dominic Barton, Canada’s ambassador to China, told reporters over a video call that he was disappointed at the ruling and that Spavor and Kovrig were being detained arbitrarily.
Both of the Canadians have been held virtually incommunicado since they were first detained. Limited consular visits were stopped due to Covid pandemic and only resumed in October