Beijing said Wednesday a detained former Canadian diplomat may have violated Chinese laws if he carried out work in the country because his employer is not legally registered in China.
Michael Kovrig, a senior adviser at the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank, was detained by Chinese state security in Beijing on Monday night, according to ICG.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he had “no information to offer” about the detention.
But he added that ICG was not registered in China.
“If it’s not registered and its employees in China are engaged in activities, it is already in violation” of a Chinese law on foreign non-governmental organisations, Lu said.
Kovrig was detained nine days after Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, at the behest of the United States.
A former Canadian ambassador to Beijing, Guy Saint-Jacques, told AFP Kovrig’s detention is likely related to Canada’s arrest of Meng.
Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has said Ottawa was “deeply concerned” by the detention of one of its citizens.
He added that there was no “explicit indication” that the former diplomat’s detention was linked to Meng’s arrest.