23:48 GMT23 February 2020
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    BEIJING (Sputnik) - China qualifies the open letter calling on Chinese President Xi Jinping to release two Canadian citizens detained in China last year as disrespect and meddling in country's internal affairs, Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Tuesday.

    "We have paid attention to this letter. I believe that scientists and former diplomats who signed it have committed at least two mistakes, since they likened those who are carrying our research and diplomatic activities in China to two Canadian citizens that Chinese competent authorities suspect of conducting activities jeopardizing the country's national security. This is brazen disrespect for those who make effort toward promotion and development of friendly exchanges between China and other countries," Hua said at a briefing.

    READ MORE: China Lambasts PM Trudeau's 'Irresponsible' Remarks on Canadian's Death Sentence

    She went on to say that the second mistake was breaching Chinese sovereign rights and "meddling in its inner judicial affairs."

    "This is overt pressure to call on the Chinese side to release two Canadians that are currently under investigation, this is disrespect for Chinese judicial sovereignty and supremacy of the law," Hua added.

    She noted that as long as people did not violate the Chinese legislation, they had "nothing to worry about."

    Beijing denies that the detention of Kovrig and Spavor has anything to do with Meng's case, claiming that the two Canadian citizens pose a threat to the Chinese national security.

    On Monday, an open letter to Xi was released, in which over 100 former diplomats and members of the academic community from around the world call on him to immediately free former envoy Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor, both detained promptly after Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese high-tech giant Huawei, was arrested in Vancouver last December at the request of the US authorities on suspicions of violating Washington's anti-Iran sanctions.

    Related:

    Ottawa, Beijing Discuss Issue of Canadians Detained in China - Reports
    Canadian Citizen to Stand Trial For Drug Trafficking in China - Court
    China 'Resolutely Opposes' Calls for Release of Detained Canadians
    Tags:
    death penalty, detention, open letter, Xi Jinping, Canada, China
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