Michael Kovrig: Canadian ex-diplomat 'held in China'


The development comes amid an ongoing bail hearing for Huawei Technologies Co.'s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, who was detained in Canada on December 1 at the request of USA authorities.

Ideas such as hiring a security firm to keep tabs on her, electronic monitoring and supervision were all brought forward, and in the end, the decision was made to place Meng under 24/7 surveillance (of which she must pay for). He said he is satisfied that Meng has only two valid passports, and that she will surrender all her other ones. Hearing on her bail resumes at the Supreme Court of British Columbia in downtown Vancouver.

Southeast Asian stock markets ended higher on Wednesday, as optimism swept across broader Asia after upbeat comments from US President Donald Trump on reaching a trade deal with China allayed trade conflict worries between Washington and Beijing.

Mr Trump told the Reuters news agency that if he thinks it would be good for what will "certainly be the largest trade deal ever made" he would intervene if necessary.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he was "deeply concerned" about Kovrig's detention, but said there is "no explicit indication at this moment" that his arrest is in reaction to the Meng case.

Huawei, which makes smartphones and network equipment, and its lawyers have said the company operates in strict compliance with applicable laws.

The US alleges that Huawei used a Hong Kong shell company to sell equipment in Iran in violation of US sanctions.

She could be jailed for up to 30 years if found guilty.

But Richard Kurland, an immigration lawyer who's been sitting in court, says it could take years for the extradition process and appeals to play out.

Separately on Tuesday, it emerged that a Canadian former diplomat had been detained in China.

The former diplomat once served in Beijing but was there on unpaid leave, sources told AFP.

Protester Ada Yu, who lives in Vancouver and is originally from China, said she doesn't think the US has a strong case against Meng and it appears to be politically motivated.

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Separately, Fields also faces dozens of federal charges, including hate crimes, which could result in the death penalty. The jury delivered the verdict late Friday afternoon after deliberating for just under eight hours.

China had threatened severe consequences unless Canada released Meng immediately.

USA authorities have until January 8, 2019 to file a formal extradition request or else Meng will be released.

"We urge China to end all forms of arbitrary detentions and to respect the protections and freedom of all individuals under China's worldwide human rights and consular commitments", deputy State Department spokesman Robert Palladino told reporters.

Meng Wanzhou's lawyer argued Monday that the United States has a political and legal posture against China and Huawei.

"I continue to feel unwell and I am anxious about my health deteriorating while I am incarcerated", the affidavit read.

"We've only heard that he was detained, but we know nothing about the reason", he said.

Huawei is the world's largest supplier of telecommunications network equipment and second-biggest maker of smartphones, with revenue of about US$92 billion past year.

Her husband Liu Xiaozong presented two Vancouver homes and Can$1 million in cash - for a total value of Can$15 million - as a surety for his wife's release. She will also be under curfew between 11pm and 6am, the judge said.

A former Canadian diplomat has reportedly been arrested in China.

Speaking at a Beijing forum on Tuesday, the Chinese government's top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said the government kept constant watch on the safety of citizens overseas, though did not directly mention Meng's case.

While both the U.S. and Chinese governments have refrained from linking Meng's arrest to their trade talks, the high-profile detention of the top tech executive has added another layer of complication to tensions and rivalry between the world's two largest economies.

China's foreign minister warned Tuesday against the "bullying" of any Chinese citizen.