Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian accused the countries of trying to interfere with China’s Justice Department.
“If Canada and the U.S. believe that they are exercising judicial independence to arrest Meng Wanzhou, then why are they trying to interfere in China’s justice department independently dealing with irrelevant cases?” Zhao said.
“This is double standards,” he continued. “It really makes us wonder how low they can go on these things.”
The comments come a day after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was “clear” that China detained Kovrig and Spavor in an “obvious” attempt to “put political pressure” on Canada over the arrest of the Huawei executive.
The United States has charged Meng with fraud, alleging she violated U.S. sanctions against Iran. She was arrested by Canadian police on a U.S. warrant in 2018.
Both Meng and Huawei have denied the allegations.
Last month B.C.’s Supreme Court ruled that Meng must remain in Canada and keep fighting the U.S. extradition order against her.
Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Spavor, a businessman, were arrested in China in 2018 after Meng was detained.
The arrests of the Canadians have been widely condemned as arbitrary because the country has no judicial independence.
On Friday, China formally charged both men with spying.
Trudeau said he was “disappointed” by China’s decision.
“In the case of the two Michaels, I can say that we are using a wide range of public and private measures to ensure that everything is being done to get these Michaels home,” he told reporters on Friday.
“We do expect both Michaels will come back.”
“These charges are politically motivated and completely groundless,” he said in a statement. “The United States stands with Canada in calling on Beijing for the immediate release of the two men and rejects the use of these unjustified detentions to coerce Canada.”
Trudeau thanked Pompeo and nations that recently denounced China‘s treatment of the two men, saying it was important for like-minded nations to show solidarity.
–With files from Global News’ Katie Dangerfield and Reuters