The diplomatic crisis caused by the arrest in Canada of Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the founder of Huawei, comes to an end.
The two Canadian nationals detained in China since 2018, were released just hours after Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was freed in Canada
Canadian Prime Minister Meng Wanzhou said the two have left Chinese airspace and will arrive in Canada around 7:30 pm in Ottawa.
The release of the two came just hours after U.S. authorities reached an agreement allowing the release of Meng Wanzhou, who will return to China. Meng had to admit wrongdoing in a fraud case. According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, Meng will return to Shenzhen.
As some readers may recall, the two Canadian nationals had been arrested in December 2018 on espionage charges, shortly after Meng was arrested on a U.S. warrant over allegations that she and the company violated economic sanctions against Iran.
The two nationals have always maintained they are innocent, and many Western governments had accused China of lingering in so-called “hostage diplomacy.”
Michael Spavor, who lived near the North Korean border and organized cultural exchanges, was accused of providing information to Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat turned analyst for the International Crisis Group, according to Chinese state media. They were tried in secret.
Spavor had been sentenced to 11 years in prison last month, while Kovrig’s verdict, following a secret trial in March, had yet to be announced.
At the same time as the arrest of the two Michaels, Chinese authorities also increased the sentence against fellow Canadian Robert Schellenberg from 15 years in prison to a death sentence.
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