China detains former Canadian diplomat – payback begins for Huawei CFO?


Is this one of the “severe” reprisals threatened by Beijing when it summoned Canada’s ambassador to Beijing for a meeting over the weekend?

According to Reuters, former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig has been detained in China. Kovrig’s employer, International Crisis Group, is working to secure his “safe” release.

The reason for Kovrig’s detention wasn’t immediately clear, and Beijing has refused to comment on his detention. However, Reuters noted that the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has “stoked fears of reprisals.”

“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 earlier about Kovrig’s detention.

The exact reason for the detention was not immediately clear. The Canadian embassy declined to comment, referring queries to Ottawa.

Kovrig, a Mandarin speaker, has been working for the ICG as an in-house “expert” since February 2017. Prior to that, he served as a diplomat for the Canadian government between 2003 and 2016, with stints in Hong Kong and Beijing.

And in the demonstration of the leverage that China’s government exercises over Western retailers, shares of Canada Goose are tumbling as Chinese citizens have started a boycott of its goods in retaliation for what is essentially the kidnapping of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou (the daughter of one of China’s most revered corporate titans). Formerly the second-best performer on Canada’s benchmark stock index, CG has seen its shares tumble some 20% over the past four days, as investors worry about a lasting impact on sales at two planned stores in Hong Kong and Beijing.