October 21st, 2020

Tory critic dismisses Chinese pandemic ‘excuse’ barring access to two Michaels

By The Canadian Press on October 11, 2020.

OTTAWA – Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong says Canada’s recent virtual consular visits to Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor should have happened much sooner.

The Ontario MP is also dismissing China’s position that it can’t allow in-person visits by diplomats because of COVID-19.

Chong tells The Canadian Press that the fact the Chinese economy has largely reopened makes it clear that’s an “excuse” to flout international conventions that guarantee consular access.

Kovrig and Spavor have been in prison in China since December 2018 in what is widely seen as retaliation for Canada arresting Chinese high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou on an American extradition warrant.

Dominic Barton, Canada’s ambassador to China, had internet-based visits with Spavor on Friday and Kovrig on Saturday.

It was the first contact Canadian diplomats have had with the two men since in-person visits in mid-January.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 11, 2020.

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