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Risch, Menendez, Gardner, Coons Mark Anniversary of the Chinese Government’s Unlawful Detention of Canadian Citizens, Call for Their Immediate Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, along with Senator Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy, and Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) today recognized the anniversary of the Chinese government’s detention of Canadian citizens Michal Kovrig and Michael Spavor in retaliation for Huawei Technologies Co, Ltd. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou’s arrest by Canadian authorities. Kovrig and Spavor were detained on December 10, 2018, just nine days after Meng’s arrest in Canada on December 1, 2018.  

Earlier this year, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution, S.Res.96, led by Risch and Menendez and cosponsored by Gardner and Coons, commending Canada for upholding the rule of law and expressing deep concern over the Chinese government’s retaliation against Canada for responding to the United States’ request that Canada extradite Meng.

“The Chinese government’s ongoing arbitrary detention and mistreatment of Canadian nationals is unacceptable,” said Risch. “It has been a full year since the unlawful detainment of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor in China. Today we reaffirm our unwavering support for Canada’s decision to uphold the rule of law with respect to Ms. Meng’s arrest, and reiterate that the Chinese government should immediately release Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor.”

“China’s continued incarceration of Michael Korvig and Michael Spavor tells us everything we need to know about the lack of respect for the rule of law in Xi Jinping’s China,” said Menendez. “While Ms. Meng luxuriates under ‘house arrest’ in her multi-million dollar mansion, Mr. Spavor and Mr. Korvig, who have done nothing wrong, are subject to inhumane conditions and even denied a single visit by their family. China’s behavior in taking these two men hostage is not that of a culture of 5000 years of civilization, but cruel, capricious, and barbaric. The world must unite in condemning the practice of political hostage-taking. That is why I have authored the Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-taking Accountability Acta bipartisan bill to provide more tools for the United States government to rescue hostages and punish their captors.”

“The Chinese Communist Party has unlawfully detained Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor for a year now, robbing them of time with their families and fundamental human rights,” said Gardner. “We stand shoulder-to-shoulder in support of Canada upholding the rule of law, and we call on the CCP to end this unjust and unlawful detainment.” 

“I support Chairman Risch and Ranking Member Menendez’s efforts to continue to draw attention to the unjust detention of two Canadian nationals in China,” said Coons. “China’s actions are politically motivated and deprive Canadian citizens of the due process they deserve. Canada, by contrast, continues to uphold the rule of law with respect to Ms. Meng’s case, and I encourage Beijing to do the same.”

Additional cosponsors of S.Res.96 include Senators Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.).