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International relations

China charges two detained Canadians with espionage

Pair arrested in 2018 after Huawei CFO detained in Canada on US warrant

Demostrators call for China to release Canadian detainees Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, during an extradition hearing for Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou, in Vancouver, Canada, on March 6, 2019.   © Reuters

BEIJING (Reuters) -- Chinese prosecutors said on Friday they have charged two detained Canadians for alleged espionage, in a case that has driven a diplomatic wedge between Ottawa and Beijing.

Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor were arrested in late 2018 on state security charges, after Canadian authorities arrested Huawei Technologies Co's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, in Vancouver on a U.S. warrant.

In December, China's foreign ministry said it had ended an investigation into the two, and the case had been turned over to prosecutors. Kovrig's case is being handled by prosecutors in Beijing, and Spavor's in the northeastern province of Liaoning.

Canada has called the arrests "arbitrary".

Last month, Huawei's Meng, the daughter of the founder of the telecoms giant, lost a legal bid to avoid extradition to the United States to face bank fraud charges, dashing hopes for an end to her house arrest in Vancouver.

She recently raised a new argument in a Canadian court in a bid to fight extradition, court documents released on Monday showed.

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