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Canadians detained in China back home

Canadians detained in China back home

dpa
New York
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday welcomed home two Canadians who had been detained in China since December 2018 as part of a spat over the detention of the chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications company Huawei.
Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor were greeted by Trudeau at the airport in Calgary after they landed. The Canadians were flown home after the US Department of Justice had reached a settlement with Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou.
Meng, the daughter of the Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was accused of bank fraud in the United States in connection with violating sanctions against Iran. She was detained in Canada in 2018, and the US sought her extradition. Under the agreement, the US withdrew its request for her extradition, allowing Meng to return to China.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not initially comment on the release of the two Canadians. Chinese state media also made no mention of their release - instead celebrating Meng’s return as a great victory.
She expressed her relief upon heading home: “It’s pitch black outside. I’m in the sky over the Arctic flying home,” Meng wrote on WeChat, a Chinese social media platform.
She was effusive in her thanks to Beijing, saying, “Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, my motherland is becoming stronger and more prosperous day by day. Without a strong motherland, I would not have my freedom today.”
The case strained relations between China and Canada. Soon after her arrest, China detained Kovrig and Spavor on accusations of espionage.
Critics said they were arrested in retaliation for Meng’s detainment, while Beijing said Meng’s case was politically motivated.  At least three Canadian drug smugglers have also been sentenced to death in China.

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