UPDATED 6:30 PM PT – Monday, March 22, 2021
China has denied access to Canadian officials for the trial of two Canadian nationals who have been detained in the communist nation for years. The trial of former Canadian Diplomat Michael Kovrig began in Beijing Monday, but envoy Jim Nickel was barred from attending the proceedings, which were held behind closed doors.
China has not provided many details about the charges against Kovrig or fellow Canadian Michael Spavor, who faces a separate trial. However, the prosecutions are believed to be retaliation to Canada’s prosecution of an executive with telecommunications giant, “Huawei.”
“Michel Kovrig, as you know, has been detained arbitrarily in China for more than two years now, precisely 833 days,” Jim Nickel, Charge D’affaires at the Canadian Embassy in China, said. “This is completely unacceptable. As well as the lack of transparency today is leaving us very troubled with his situation.”
Nickel said he will be following up with China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and demanding to see Kovrig on a consular visit “very soon.”