Canada’s Ambassador to China Dominic Barton waits to appear before the House of Commons committee on Canada-China relations in Ottawa, Wednesday, February 5, 2020. Canada’s ambassador to China says Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are physically and mentally well, and showing inspiring resilience as they near the end of their second year of imprisonment by the People’s Republic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Canada’s Ambassador to China Dominic Barton waits to appear before the House of Commons committee on Canada-China relations in Ottawa, Wednesday, February 5, 2020. Canada’s ambassador to China says Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are physically and mentally well, and showing inspiring resilience as they near the end of their second year of imprisonment by the People’s Republic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Kovrig, Spavor are ‘inspiring’ and ‘robust’ in Chinese prison, says Canada’s envoy

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were arrested and imprisoned on Dec. 10, 2018

Canada’s ambassador to China says Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are physically and mentally well and showing inspiring resilience as they near the end of their second year of imprisonment by the People’s Republic.

Dominic Barton says Chinese authorities were completely paranoid about COVID-19 as they denied consular access to the two men from January to November.

Barton is leading Canada’s efforts in China to win the release of Kovrig and Spavor, who were arrested and imprisoned on Dec. 10, 2018, in what is widely seen as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Chinese high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou.

After months of delay, Barton was granted on-site virtual consular access to Kovrig and Spavor in November, following similar virtual visits with the two Canadians a month earlier.

Barton offered the update in testimony Thursday night before the House of Commons special committee on Canada-China relations.

He also described the three-day Chinese government-controlled visit to Tibet that he and nine other Western diplomats undertook in October, saying he remains concerned about the human rights situation there and that they only saw what the Chinese wanted them to see.

The Canadian Press

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