Chinese authorities are investigating two Canadians citizens on suspicion of stealing state secrets about China’s military and national defense research, state media said.
The official Xinhua News Agency said in a one-paragraph report late Monday that Kevin Garratt and Julia Dawn Garratt were being investigated by the state security bureau in China’s northeastern city of Dandong that borders North Korea. Xinhua did not provide further details. The offense of stealing state secrets is a serious crime in China.
The Canadian newspaper ‘The Globe’ and ‘Mail’ said the Garratts are a Vancouver couple who have lived in China since 1984 and have run a popular coffee shop in Dandong since 2008.
The accusations against the couple came nearly a week after Canada accused a China-sponsored hacker of infiltrating Canada’s National Research Council, the country’s top research and development organization.
China’s Foreign Ministry expressed strong displeasure over the allegation, urging Canada to withdraw the “groundless” accusation. Canada’s foreign affairs department said it was aware of reports that the two Canadians had been detained and was trying get more information. The department said consular officials were ready to provide assistance.