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Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, detained in China for almost 3 years, now on plane home

cbc.ca logo cbc.ca 2021-09-25 CBC/Radio-Canada
a man wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: Michael Spavor, left, and former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig, had been detained in China since December, 2018. © The Associated Press/International Crisis Group/The Canadian Press Michael Spavor, left, and former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig, had been detained in China since December, 2018.

Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are returning to Canada nearly three years after they were arrested in China, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Friday evening.

"These two men have gone through an unbelievably difficult ordeal," Trudeau said in Ottawa. "For the past 1,000 days, they have shown strength, perseverance, resilience and grace."


Video: Canadians Kovrig and Spavor detained in China for 1,000 days (cbc.ca)

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Spavor and Kovrig's flight departed China about 7:30 p.m. ET, Trudeau said. They are being accompanied by Dominic Barton, Canada's ambassador to China.

The 'two Michaels' were detained in what is widely considered a retaliatory act after the Chinese tech executive Meng Wangzhou was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1, 2018, at the request of the U.S. government.

Meng reached a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. government earlier Friday, setting off a quick chain of events that saw her extradition case in a B.C. court dropped and her departure from Vancouver airport, also at about 7:30 p.m. ET.

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