Scott Thompson: China, not the nice customer we thought?

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The U.S. has also renewed a travel advisory, quoting the Huawei case, warning China can use "arbitrary enforcement of local laws" and an "exit ban" to detain foreigners.

China's top prosecutor said on Thursday that two Canadians detained after Canada arrested a Chinese technology company executive had "without a doubt" violated the law.

"We hope the USA side will make more efforts to promote exchanges and mutual trust between Chinese and USA people rather than the opposite", he said.

There are approximately 200 Canadians overall who have been detained in China for a variety of alleged infractions and continue to face ongoing legal proceedings, and the number has remained relatively stable in recent years. Those detentions occurred days after Canadian police arrested Huawei Technologies' chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver at the request of the United States.

"We have said here that these two Canadian citizens are under investigation in accordance with law for engaging in activities that undermine China's national security", said foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang.

The Chinese spokesperson said that Washington "used all kinds of excuses to erect barriers against Chinese citizens entering the US".

December 12: China's foreign ministry says it has no information about Kovrig, but says the organization he worked with - the International Crisis Group - was not registered in China, making its activities in the country illegal.

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After news broke of Kovrig and Spavor, Minister of Tourism Melanie Joly postponed a planned trip to China to attend a tourism event at the last minute.

"This doesn't shed much light", said Malley.

Lu's briefing, posted in English translation to the ministry's website, was one of two cryptic Chinese government media events that deepened the mystery surrounding the arrests of Kovrig and Spavor.

Meng was released on a C$10 million ($7.4 million) bail on December 11 and is living in one of her two multi-million-dollar Vancouver homes as she fights extradition to the United States. She was later released on bail pending her extradition hearing.

The two detained Canadians have only had one consular visit since their arrests.

In comparison, there are nearly 900 Canadians in a similar situation in the United States, the official added. Pompeo publicly calls on China to release Kovrig and Spavor.

Malley said he won't speculate on why Kovrig was detained, only to say it has nothing to do with his work as an analyst for the Crisis Group.

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