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Trial of Canadian national detained in China for over two years begins, Canadian diplomat denied access

BEIJING, CHINA - MARCH 22: Canadian Embassy Charge d'Affaires Jim Nickel (L) and United States Embassy Acting Deputy Chief of Mission William Klein speak to the media after being denied entry to the trial for Canadian Michael Kovrig on March 22, 2021 at a court in Beijing, China. Kovrig, a former diplomat, was arrested in December 2018 after Canada's arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the behest of U.S. officials. Diplomats from 26 countries, including Canada, the United States, Australia, Norway, the United Kingdom and Spain, were denied access to Kovrig's hearing. Another Canadian, Michael Spavor, faced similar charges in a closed trial that took place as U.S. and Chinese officials held a tense summit in Alaska. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

BEIJING, CHINA – MARCH 22: Canadian Embassy Charge d’Affaires Jim Nickel (L) and United States Embassy Acting Deputy Chief of Mission William Klein speak to the media after being denied entry to the trial for Canadian Michael Kovrig on March 22, 2021 at a court in Beijing, China. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:30 PM PT – Monday, March 22, 2021

China has denied access to Canadian officials for the trial of two Canadian nationals who have been detained in the communist nation for years. The trial of former Canadian Diplomat Michael Kovrig began in Beijing Monday, but envoy Jim Nickel was barred from attending the proceedings, which were held behind closed doors.

Jim Nickel, the deputy chief of mission for the Canadian Embassy in China, and foreign diplomats gather outside the No. 2 Intermediate People's Court to attend former diplomat Michael Kovrig's trial in Beijing, Monday, Sept 22, 2021. The Beijing court was expected to put on trial second Canadian citizen Michael Kovrig held for more than two years on spying charges in apparent retaliation for Canada's arrest of a senior executive of the telecoms giant Huawei. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Jim Nickel, the deputy chief of mission for the Canadian Embassy in China. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

 

China has not provided many details about the charges against Kovrig or fellow Canadian Michael Spavor, who faces a separate trial. However, the prosecutions are believed to be retaliation to Canada’s prosecution of an executive with telecommunications giant, “Huawei.”

“Michel Kovrig, as you know, has been detained arbitrarily in China for more than two years now, precisely 833 days,” Jim Nickel, Charge D’affaires at the Canadian Embassy in China, said. “This is completely unacceptable. As well as the lack of transparency today is leaving us very troubled with his situation.”

Nickel said he will be following up with China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and demanding to see Kovrig on a consular visit “very soon.”

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