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China formally arrests detained Canadians on espionage charges

 Louis Huang of Vancouver Freedom and Democracy for China holds photos of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.
A Vancouver Freedom and Democracy for China rep. with photos of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese authorities formally arrested 2 Canadians, detained for months in China, on espionage charges, The Globe & Mail first reported Thursday.

Why it matters: U.S. experts view the arrests of writer Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig as "direct retaliation" by China for Canada's detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who's accused of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. On Wednesday, President Trump issued an executive order prohibiting U.S. firms from using telecom services solely owned, controlled, or directed by a foreign adversary, paving the way for a ban on Huawei.

Go deeper: China has detained 13 Canadians since arrest of Huawei CFO