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Garneau has suggested that Canadian nationals Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig have been jailed by the Chinese government in retaliation for Canada’s treatment of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. On Friday, Meng was allowed to leave Canada after reaching an agreement with the US Department of Justice over allegations of fraud for which she was arrested in December 2018.

“Canada has respected the rule of law, and two Canadian citizens have paid a heavy price for this commitment … We continue to oppose the way these two good people have been treated,” he said.

By keeping Meng under house arrest, Ottawa had “applied Canadian and international law in response to a request for the extradition of a Chinese citizen,” Garneau said.

Later that evening, a representative of the Chinese delegation to the United Nations General Assembly exercised the country’s right of reply, accusing the United States and Canada of keeping Meng under house arrest arbitrarily and without “legal reasons.” .

“The real goal was to surprise Chinese high-tech companies and enterprises as a way to curb China’s progress in science and technology. The action of the United States and Canada is very typical of the detention arbitrary, ”said the Chinese representative.

The diplomatic clash comes less than a week after Canada and China announced the release of three prominent detainees who had been at the center of growing tensions between the two countries for nearly three years.

Shortly after Meng’s release, Ottawa announced that two Canadian nationals, former diplomat Kovrig and businessman Spavor, had been released by the Chinese government. The two men had been detained for more than 1,000 days by Beijing after being arrested for espionage, shortly after Meng’s arrest.

The Chinese government has repeatedly insisted that the two Canadian nationals were not detained in response to Meng’s arrest, saying the charges against them were “rock-solid”.

Meng’s case is “completely different” from that of Kovrig and Spavor, China’s representative to the UN said on Monday, insisting that the two Canadians had engaged in acts “that endanger them. Chinese security “.

He also reiterated an earlier claim by state media that the couple confessed to their crimes, although the Canadian government did not indicate that Kovrig and Spavor confessed to the offenses.

“We hope that Canada can face the facts, correct its mistakes and learn from what happened so that it does not make any more mistakes,” the representative warned.

Canada responded, with a representative of the delegation saying Meng had been treated with judicial independence and the rule of law, and noting “that she spoke outside the Vancouver courthouse to thank the tribunal. “.

Canadian citizens detained in China “have not enjoyed a similar degree of transparency, respect, due process or judicial independence,” said the Canadian representative.

“And we will continue to speak out against arbitrary detention in state-to-state relations, thank you.”

The spokesperson for the Chinese delegation responded once again by saying “We cannot accept what he said.”

“The facts cannot be denied, and the laws cannot be confronted. We believe that history will have a final judgment,” he added.

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