A Chinese state-owned newspaper is reporting that the trials of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor will begin in the near future.

In an article on Thursday, the Global Times reported that the Chinese government will soon begin long-postponed trials for the Canadians. The two Michaels face charges of stealing unspecified government secrets.

“Another source close to the matter told the Global Times previously that due to the COVID-19 epidemic situation, the hearings for both cases have yet to commence, and the court will push forward the trial soon,” the article reads.

“Kovrig was accused of having used an ordinary passport and business visa to enter China to steal sensitive information and intelligence through contacts in China since 2017, while Spavor was accused of being a key source of intelligence for Kovrig.”

The two Michaels were arrested in December 2018. Their arrests are believed to be retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. warrant in 2018. 

The Chinese legal system is known for being unfair, secretive and focused on fulfilling the agenda of the Chinese Communist Party. In 2019, the conviction rate in China stood at 99.9%.

If convicted, the two Michaels face life in prison.

Despite a Chinese state-owned paper claiming their trials are soon, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada said the government had not been notified by China.

“We are not aware of any set timeline for the trials. To date, Global Affairs Canada has not been notified of court hearings for Mr. Kovrig or Mr. Spavor,” Global Affairs Canada told Global News.

“Global Affairs Canada continues to monitor these cases closely.”

While the two Michaels have remained in prison for the past two years, Meng has lived in luxury in Vancouver while fighting her extradition to the United States.

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