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China says detained Canadian lacks diplomatic immunity

AFP  |  Beijing 

on Monday ridiculed Canadian Justin Trudeau's claim that a former detained in still held

Chinese authorities arrested former and last month, accusing them both of endangering national security. The move was widely seen as retaliation for Canada's arrest of a top Chinese from

on Friday accused of "arbitrarily and unfairly" detaining the two men and of ignoring Kovrig's "diplomatic immunity" -- earning a scornful rebuke from

"The accusations that the Chinese side arbitrarily detains Canadian citizens are unfounded," said at a regular press briefing.

"The relevant people on the Canadian side should seriously learn and study the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations... Don't make specious statements that make a fool of oneself," Hua added.

Persons carrying a diplomatic passport are protected by limited immunity when they are abroad under the terms of the Vienna Convention.

Kovrig was arrested on December 10, after taking leave from his diplomatic posting to work for the think tank.

Trudeau's statement suggested Kovrig carried a diplomatic passport while on his sabbatical - which is possible if authorised by Canada's foreign ministry - but Hua said he was in on an with a business visa.

"No matter which angle you look at it from, does not have diplomatic immunity," she said. "Kovrig is not currently a " has called for the Canadians' immediate release, with the backing of the US, EU and several western nations.

has also called for China to respect the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.

should "first take real action to prove that its own judicial system is independent," Hua said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, January 14 2019. 16:25 IST