Former Canadian diplomat reported missing in China

A sign calling for the release of Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou is seen outside British Columbia Superior Courts following her Dec. 1 arrest in Canada for extradition to the U.S. in Vancouver, Canada, on Dec. 10.
(Jason Redmond / AFP/Getty Images)
Washington Post

A former Canadian diplomat now working for the International Crisis Group in China is missing in that country, according to his employer, news that could further complicate an already tense diplomatic standoff over the arrest of a senior Chinese tech executive in Vancouver, Canada, last week.

Michael Kovrig is a former Canadian diplomat posted to Beijing. Since February 2017, he was been working for the International Crisis Group, covering security issues across northeast Asia. He frequently spoke to the media about his research, including the Washington Post.

“International Crisis Group is aware of reports that its North East Asia Senior Adviser, Michael Kovrig, has been detained in China,” the think tank said in a statement.


“We are doing everything possible to secure additional information on Michael’s whereabouts as well as his prompt and safe release,” it added.

It is not yet clear is Kovrig’s case is connected in any way to the diplomatic standoff between Canada and China over the arrest of a senior Chinese tech executive.

News of his disappearance and possible detention comes as a Vancouver court will decide whether to grant bail to Huawei Technologies’ Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested on Dec.1 and now faces possible extradition to the U.S. on charges related to alleged Iran sanctions violations.

Meng, who is chief financial officer for Huawei and the daughter of the company’s founder, was apprehended by Canadian authorities while in transit in Vancouver last week.

On Tuesday, a Vancouver court will decide whether she will be granted bail.

Emily Rauhala writes for the Washington Post.