China envoy says Kovrig, Spavor confessed to crimes, warns against rejecting Huawei

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Published December 10, 2021 at 1:28 pm

OTTAWA — China’s ambassador to Canada says Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor confessed to crimes before their release from his country’s prisons this past September. 

Envoy Cong Peiwu also says Canada will pay a price if it blocks Chinese telecom company Huawei from participating in the country’s 5G internet network as its Five Eyes Allies, the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand have already done.

Canada has delayed its decision on 5G out of concern for Kovrig and Spavor who were imprisoned in China for nearly three years in apparent retaliation for the RCMP’s arrest of Huawei executive of Meng Wanzhou on an American extradition warrant in December 2018.

China convicted Kovrig and Spavor of espionage in closed trials that were widely criticized by Canada and dozens of Western allies who rejected the charges against the men as trumped-up retaliation.

A Chinese state-controlled newspaper, citing anonymous sources, first reported shortly after their release in September that the two men confessed, but Cong reiterated that point on Friday on the record to a small group of Canadian and Chinese reporters in an invitation-only video news conference.

Global Affairs Canada had no immediate comment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 10, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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