A former Canadian diplomat has been detained in China, two sources said on Tuesday, and his current employer, the International Crisis Group, said it was seeking his prompt and safe release.
Michael Kovrig, an employee with the International Crisis Group and former Canadian diplomat appears in this photo provided by the International Crisis Group in Brussels, Belgium, December 11, 2018. Michael Kovrig’s detention comes after police in Canada arrested the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd on December 1 at the request of US authorities, a move that has infuriated Beijing. It was not immediately clear if the cases were related, but the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver has stoked fears of reprisals against the foreign business community in China.
“International Crisis Group is aware of reports that its North East Asia Senior Adviser, Michael Kovrig, has been detained in China,” the think-tank said in a statement.
“We are doing everything possible to secure additional information on Michael’s whereabouts as well as his prompt and safe release,” it added.
China’s Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Public Security did not respond immediately to questions faxed about Kovrig’s detention.
The exact reason for the detention, which was made sometime early this week, according to the sources, was not immediately clear.
The Canadian embassy declined to comment, referring queries to Ottawa.
Calls to Kovrig’s phones were not answered.