Saturday, November 27, 2021

Chinese court sentences Canadian businessman for 11 years on charges of espionage

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Noah Fisher
After serving as a lead author in leading magazines, Noah Fisher planned to launch its own venture as DailyResearchEditor. With a decade-long work experience in the media and passion in technology and gadgets, he founded this website. Fisher now enjoys writing on research-based topics. When he’s not hunched over the keyboard, Fisher spends his time engulfed in critical matters of the society.
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A Chinese court has found a Canadian businessman guilty of spying and sentenced him to 11 years in jail.

Michael Spavor has been detained since 2018 after he was arrested along with fellow Canadian ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig.

The ruling will test a strained relationship between the Canadian and Chinese governments.

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It comes as an extradition battle in which Meng Wanzhou, a senior executive of Chinese technology giant Huawei, takes place in Canada.

Critics have accused China of treating Spavor and Kovrig as letters of political bargaining, which is part of the so-called “hostage diplomacy”.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Dandong court said: “For the crime of espionage and the illegal supply of state secrets abroad [Spavor] was sentenced to 11 years in prison, confiscation of 50,000 yuan ($ 7,715: £ 5,578) personal value property and deportation. ”

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The statement did not explicitly say when the deportation would take place, but China usually deports sentenced foreigners only after they have finished their prison sentences.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared the conviction as “completely unacceptable and unfair”.

“The verdict for Spavor comes after around two and a half years of unreasonable detention, a lack of clarity in the legal method and a trial that does not even meet the smallest measures demanded by international law,” he said in a statement.

Spavor was first arrested in 2018, a few days after Ms Meng was detained – and later charged with spying. His first hearing, which took place in March, closed without a decision.

Canadian diplomats, including the charge d’affaires to China, were then refused access to the court.

Spavor is an establishing member of the Paektu Cultural Exchange, an organization that facilitates international business and cultural ties with North Korea.

The Canadian ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, said he had “condemned” the conviction.

“There is an opportunity to appeal,” he told reporters outside the court, according to a report by AFP.

Separately, Michael Kovrig – who is facing the same charges – also stood trial in March, although no verdict was announced.

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