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Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's remarks on the cases of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor
2021-03-20 22:07

On March 19, 2021, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian held Regular Press Conference and made remarks on the cases involving the two Canadian citizens as follows:

Bloomberg: About the trial of Canadian citizen Michael Spavor, my understanding is that it lasted for 2 hours, and there's to be no further hearings. There are also reports that Canadian diplomats did not get access. My first question relates to the trial today in Dandong. Does the foreign ministry have any comment on that? Secondly, I'd like to ask, again, if you could confirm that Michael Kovrig, the second Canadian, will stand trial on Monday as reports have said?

Zhao Lijian: I repeated China's position on the cases involving the Canadian citizens yesterday. Chinese judicial organs handle cases independently in accordance with the law and fully guarantee the lawful rights of the individuals concerned. China always handles relevant matters including consular notification in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the Consular Agreement between China and Canada as well as Chinese laws and regulations. China's judicial sovereignty brooks no interference.

According to Article 188 of the Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China and Article 222 of the Interpretation of the Supreme People's Court on the Application of the Criminal Procedure Law of the People's Republic of China, cases involving state secrets shall not be heard in open court and no one is allowed to sit in on the trial.

Reuters: A Canadian diplomat in Dandong today specifically told Reuters that they believe that China has broken the Vienna Convention and the Consular Agreement between Canada and China by not allowing their diplomats to sit in on the trial. He also complained that China has not allowed diplomats to meet with Spavor since February 3. So I just want to ask specifically on what the Canadian diplomats have said, what the ministry's comment is and whether the ministry has had any contact with the Canadian side over this.

Zhao Lijian: I have explained China's position very clearly just now. If China had not notified the Canadian embassy, I would like to ask you how the Canadian embassy official who went to Dandong got to know that there was to be a trial today?

As I also made very clear just now, since the case involves state secrets, it is not heard in open court and no one is allowed to sit in on the trial. Regarding the issue of consular access you mentioned, on the premise of mutual respect and accommodating each other's concerns, the Chinese authorities will continue to deal with consular visits for the Canadian citizens in accordance with the law as the epidemic situation evolves.

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