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China Indicts Canadians Held Since 2018 on Spying Charges

  • Kovrig, Spavor headed to trial after 18 months of detention
  • Two cases entwined in diplomatic fight over Huawei extradition
Protesters hold photos of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig outside British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver, on March 6, 2019.

Protesters hold photos of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig outside British Columbia Supreme Court in Vancouver, on March 6, 2019.

Photographer: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

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Chinese authorities have indicted two Canadians on spying allegations, pressing ahead with a case diplomatically entwined with U.S. efforts to extradite a top Huawei Technologies Co. executive from Canada.

The formal charges against Michael Kovrig, a Hong Kong-based International Crisis Group analyst and a former Canadian diplomat, and Michael Spavor, who organized trips to North Korea, suggest they’ll soon face trial after more than 18 months of detention. Kovrig was charged with spying on state secrets while Spavor was accused of stealing and illegally providing state secrets to other countries, according to statements released Friday by prosecutors in Beijing and the northeastern border city of Dandong.