torsdag 12. august 2021

Prison term raises pressure on Canada and US in high-stakes China standoff

Hours after a court in China sentenced Canadian Michael Spavor to 11 years in prison for espionage, Meng Wanzhou appeared in a Vancouver courtroom, as final arguments began in her fight against extradition to the United States. The two cases, while not officially linked, are at the heart a geopolitical feud between the United States and China, which has left Canadasuffering collateral damage.

Michael Spavor and a second Canadian, Michael Kovrig, were arrested by Chinese officials in December 2018, days after Canada arrested the Huaweiexecutive on a US extradition request. China has repeatedly demanded she be released, even though prime minister Justin Trudeau has said his government cannot interfere in the country’s judicial process. But after Spavor was sentenced on Wednesday, Ottawa must grapple with the reality that Beijing plans to tie the fate of two jailed Canadians to Meng’s legal saga.

Spavor’s verdict and sentencing, which follow an opaque and secretive trial, were denounced by Canada and its allies, who have accused China of “hostage diplomacy”.