China’s top prosecutor said Friday that a public prosecutor’s office has been opened for collecting state secrets and secret services against Kovrig in the Beijing People’s Procuratorate’s second two-meal trial.
The Dandong Procuratorate in Liaoning Province is currently being prosecuted for the theft and release of government secrets abroad.
The Chinese foreign ministry said on Friday that the two men had violated Article 111 of Chinese criminal law, which relates to espionage and state secrets.
Such crimes were punished with a 10-year prison term, “when the circumstances are particularly serious,” said the spokesman for the ministry, Zhao Lijian
“The facts are clear and the evidence is solid and sufficient. He should be held accountable for criminal liability under the charges above, ”Zhao said of Kovrig before making a similar statement to Spavor.
The arrests of the two Canadians shook relations between Ottawa and Beijing. Global Affairs Canada, the Canadian government’s diplomatic arm, has repeatedly called for the couple to be released from “arbitrary detention” immediately.
Beijing has also called for Meng’s release and criticized Canada as an “accomplice” who supports US efforts to bring Huawei down.
While the two men were arrested in December 2018, Beijing only announced in May last year that they had been officially arrested.
They were granted regular consular visits, but were stopped after Chinese prisons closed their doors to visitors due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.
China’s foreign ministry said in December that it had closed the investigation into the two Canadians and passed the case on to the prosecutor.
The Communist Party’s Central Commission for Political and Legal Affairs said last year that Kovrig had been accused of “stealing and spying on sensitive Chinese information and intelligence agencies,” and Spavor had given him intelligence agencies without giving details.
Kovrig has been a senior expert in Northeast Asia for the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank, since 2017. Spavor is the director of Paektu Cultural Exchange, an organization that promotes investment and tourism in North Korea.
Law enforcement was announced after Meng lost her legal offer last month to prevent extradition to the United States. She has been accused by the United States of having provided the Canadian court that tried her case with a “grossly inaccurate” summary of the evidence.
Meng was arrested by the Canadian police at Vancouver Airport on December 1, 2018, at the request of the United States, and shook China’s relations with Canada and the United States.