Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were allowed to return to Canada on September 25th, after being detained for more than 1,000 days after the two men were suspected of endangering national security.
The two men were greeted in Calgary shortly before 8 a.m. on Saturday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau.
The reason? China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman revealed that Spavor and Kovrig were released on bail for health reasons.
China released the two Canadians on bail after a “diagnosis by professional medical institutions, and with the guarantee of the Canadian ambassador to China.” No questions were answered about the details of the health conditions nor if the releases were entirely unrelated.
Beijing officials have “rebuked Canada’s role in Meng’s arrest” and commented that “Canada’s originally should not have involved itself in the U.S.’s ‘dirty work.”
Trudeau’s announcement that the two men had left Chinese airspace came hours after the U.S extradition case against Meng Wanzhou (informally known as the “Princess of Huawei”), chief financial officer to Huawei, was dropped. The extradition investigated whether Huawei violated U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Meng was arrested per request of U.S authorities in Vancouver in December 2018. China accused Ottawa of arbitrary detention, whereas many countries labeled China’s action as “hostage politics.”
Spavor, an entrepreneur, had been sentenced to 11 years in prison. Kovrig, a diplomat, had not been sentenced but faced similar charges.
Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “The case of Meng Wanzhou is completely different from that of Michel Kovrig and Michael Spavor in nature.”
Chinese officials have told Canada to keep their “eyes wide open” and adopt pragmatic approaches to the situation and to further relations, freelance reporter Patrick Fok commented from Beijing.