A Canadian man arrested by Chinese authorities in 2014 on charges of spying has been indicted for allegedly gathering and selling China’s state secrets, official media reported.
Kevin Garratt was indicted on Thursday by a court in the country’s northeast. “During the investigation, Chinese authorities also found evidence which implicates Garratt in accepting tasks from Canadian espionage agencies to gather intelligence in China,” the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing court documents.
“Kevin Garratt has been indicted by prosecutors in Dandong city in northeast China’s Liaoning Province. The case will be tried at the Dandong Intermediate People’s Court,” the report said.
“China’s judicial authorities will handle the case strictly according to law and Kevin Garratt’s legal rights will be fully guaranteed,” foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told reporters.
The Canadian foreign ministry spokesperson was quoted by Reuters as saying that Garratt’s indictment was “concerning”.
The Reuters report added that the indictment was announced the day after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and senior cabinet ministers “attended a lavish party in Ottawa hosted by China to mark the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations”.
Garratt and his wife Julia Garratt were arrested in August 2014 from near the China-North Korea border, where they ran a coffee shop. Julia was released but is unable to leave China.
The indictment comes days after a detained Swedish non-profit worker, accused of jeopardising China’s national security, was expelled. Peter Jesper Dahlin was put on a flight to Sweden after more than three weeks in detention.