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  • Hua Chunying, spokeswoman of China's Foreign Ministry, gestures at a regular news conference in Beijing, China, Jan. 6, 2016.

    Hua Chunying, spokeswoman of China's Foreign Ministry, gestures at a regular news conference in Beijing, China, Jan. 6, 2016.

Published 14 January 2019
Opinion

"No matter how you look at it, Michael Kovrig does not have diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention," said China's Foreign Ministry.

Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig, being held in China on suspicion of endangering national security, is not entitled to diplomatic immunity, China's foreign ministry said Monday.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Friday appealed to China over the detention of two Canadians and accused the country of "not respecting the principles of diplomatic immunity" in one of the cases.

Asked about Trudeau's comments, China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that the "relevant Canadian person" should "earnestly study" the Vienna Convention before speaking, so as to "not become a laughing stock."

"No matter how you look at it, Michael Kovrig does not have diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention," she said.

Kovrig is not serving as a diplomat at the moment and had entered China on his most recent trip on a regular passport and business visa, she said.

Kovrig was one of two Canadians detained in China days after the Dec. 1 arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co, in Vancouver, at the request of the United States.

On Monday,  China urged countries to end "fabrications" about Huawei, after an official in Poland said his country could limit the use of the company's products by public entities following the arrest of a Huawei employee there on spying allegations.

Huawei, the world's biggest producer of telecommunications equipment, faces intense scrutiny in the West over its relationship with China's government and U.S.-led allegations that its devices could be used by Beijing for espionage. No evidence has been produced publicly and Huawei has repeatedly denied the accusations, but several Western countries have restricted Huawei's access to their markets.

The other Canadian held in China is businessman Michael Spavor.

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