(JustPatriots.com)- Top U.S. officials are calling for the Chinese government to release two citizens from Canada from detention.
On Wednesday, Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, joined in with other nations in calling for the citizens’ unconditional and immediate release from continued detention.
Canadian citizen Michael Spavor was first detained two-and-a-half years ago for espionage. Just recently, a court in China sentenced him to spend 11 years in prison.
The United States recently joined Canada and other major international partners in saying there was a lack of full transparency throughout the judicial process. He’s also been banned from having contact with any diplomatic interlocutors.
In his recent statement, Blinken condemned China’s sentence, saying that both Spavor and Michael Kavrog, another Canadian citizen who is being detained, “Have not received the minimal procedural protections during their more than two-and-a-half-year arbitrary detention.
“In my discussions with [People’s Republic of China] officials, I have raised several cases of both U.S. and Canadian citizens subject to arbitrary detentions and exit bans in China, and I strongly support the immediate and unconditional release of all those whom the People’s Republic of China has arbitrarily detained.”
Blinken also said that China’s government has been using the two Canadian citizens as “bargaining chips.”
“The practice of arbitrarily detaining individuals to exercise leverage over foreign governments is completely unacceptable. People should never be used as bargaining chips.”
The White House has been working very closely with officials from Canada to try to get the two people released from Chinese custody.
The situation is that both of the Canadian citizens were arrested in 2018. The suspicious part of the arrests is they happened not long after Meng Wanzhou, an executive from Chinese company Huawei, was arrested in Canada. Meng was arrested in Vancouver after allegedly violating United States sanctions that were placed on Iran.
Meng is currently undergoing a trial in Canada over a request by the U.S. to be extradited to America.
A spokesperson for the European Union’s diplomatic arm also condemned the detention and sentencing of Spavor. He said the trial was held in secret, and Spavor was banned from selecting a legal team of his choosing.
The spokesperson said:
“The European Union has repeatedly urged China to abide by its international legal obligations to guarantee procedural fairness and due process of law for Mr. Spavor. His right to a fair trial and due process, including the right to a public hearing, as guaranteed under international human rights law and China’s Criminal Procedure Law, has not been upheld.”
Kirsten Hillman, who serves as Canada’s ambassador to the United States, said the arrest of the two Canadian men was an attempt by China to try to drive a wedge between Canada and the United States.
Instead, Hillman said the whole incident has brought the two countries closer together against “hostage diplomacy” and “in defense of human rights and in defense of rule of law, not just with the United States but with numerous allies around the world.”