Canadian charged with spying

By Wang Qingyun (China Daily)     Updated : 2016-01-30

A Canadian citizen has been charged with prying into and stealing State secrets, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Friday.

The people's procuratorate of Dandong, Liaoning province, charged Kevin Garratt at the city's intermediate people's court, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Friday.

Hua said he is also suspected of having accepted assignments from Canadian intelligence agencies to gather intelligence in China.

"Chinese legal agencies conduct their work in strict accordance with the law. Kevin Garratt's lawful rights are fully protected," said Hua.

On Feb 3, the national security agency in Dandong "placed Kevin Garratt in criminal detention on suspicion of involvement in activities that undermine China's national security", and released his wife Julia Garratt "on bail".

The couple were placed under residential surveillance on Aug 4, 2014, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei confirmed in February last year.

In August 2014, reported that the couple were suspected of stealing Chinese military and national defense research secrets.

The Garratts first came to China in 1984, and moved in 2008 to Dandong, a city bordering the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Canada's The Globe and Mail newspaper reported.

The Associated Press quoted Kevin Garratt's son Simeon as saying that the couple ran a coffee shop and did Christian aid work for people in the DPRK.

The Associated Press quoted Francois Lasalle, Canada's global affairs department spokesman, as saying that Canada finds the indictment concerning, and that "the government of Canada has raised this case with the Chinese government at high levels".

Ruan Zongze, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said the case "should not be politicized", and the legal actions China has taken "should be respected".

"China welcomes foreigners to live, work and study in the country. But they must abide by China's law," he said.