Politics

China allows Michael Kovrig telephone call to sick father

The Chinese embassy in Canada says Michael Kovrig has been allowed to have a telephone conversation with his father, who is very ill.

Kovrig and fellow Canadian Michael Spavor have been in detention since December 2018

In this image made from a video taken on March 28, 2018, Michael Kovrig, an adviser with the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based non-governmental organization, speaks during an interview in Hong Kong. (The Associated Press)

The Chinese embassy in Canada says Michael Kovrig has been allowed to have a telephone conversation with his father, who is very ill.

The embassy said in a statement that it allowed this for humanitarian reasons.

The embassy said it has also provided better food to Kovrig and fellow Canadian detainee Michael Spavor to strengthen their immunity in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Kovrig, a diplomat on leave who was working with the International Crisis Group, and Spavor, an entrepreneur, have been imprisoned in China since December 2018 in what is widely viewed as retaliation for Canada's arrest of Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou nine days earlier.

Friday's Chinese statement also maintains the hardline take by Beijing since the events of December 2018, which have plunged Sino-Canadian relations to a new low.

It says Kovrig and Spavor are "suspected" of endangering China's national security and their cases are being handled lawfully, while the Canadian government "cannot explain which law of Canada Ms. Meng Wanzhou violated."

The Canadian government maintains the "two Michaels" are being arbitrarily detained.

Meng was arrested by the RCMP on an extradition request from the United States.

Meng is out on bail and living in a luxury Vancouver home, as her extradition hearing remains before a British Columbia court.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversationCreate account

Already have an account?

now