September 22, 2021

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1,000th Day of Arbitrary Detention of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in China

12 min read

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Today marks the 1,000th day of the arbitrary detention of Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig by the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Canada and the international community in calling for the PRC to release, immediately and unconditionally, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.  We also call on the PRC to release all American citizens subject to arbitrary detention or subject to coercive exit bans.  We continue to condemn these arbitrary detentions, the lack of minimum procedural protections during their 1,000 days of arbitrary detention, and the sentence imposed against Mr. Spavor on August 11.  We stand with the more than 60 countries that have endorsed the recent Declaration Against Arbitrary Detention in State-to-State Relations.

The United States remains deeply troubled by the lack of transparency surrounding these legal proceedings and joins Canada in calling for full consular access to Mr. Spavor and Mr. Kovrig, in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and the China-Canada Consular Agreement.  We call upon PRC authorities to grant the requests of Canadian officials and other foreign diplomats to attend their proceedings.

In my discussions with PRC officials, with international partners, and in public forums, I have repeatedly raised several cases of both U.S. and Canadian citizens subject to arbitrary detentions and exit bans in China.  The practice of arbitrarily detaining individuals to exercise leverage over foreign governments is completely unacceptable.  People should never be used as bargaining chips.

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