UCF Global Perspectives


Chinese Officials Release Canadian after Two Years

Yihui Tang, Lester N. Mandell Diplomacy Fellow

September 23, 2016

Kevin Garratt, a Canadian citizen, returned home from China on Thursday after being tried for espionage (NYT, BBC, CNN International). Garratt and his wife owned a small coffee shop in China and carried out Christian aid work to help North Korean refugees since 1984 (BBC, NYT). They were both arrested in August 2014 in Dandong, a city next to the border of North Korea. Chinese officials announced in January that Garratt would be on trial and released his wife on bail in February 2015 (NYT).

Relations between Canada and China were dampened because of Garratt’s detention (NYT). However, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang assured Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that Garratt would be treated humanely. According to Foreign Minister Stephane Dion, Canadian officials did not make concessions for Garratt’s return (BBC). Chinese officials released Garratt after Trudeau’s recent visit to China, which was his first (BBC). A statement from the family said that “the Garratt family thanks everyone for their thoughts and prayers, and also thanks to many individuals who worked to secure Kevin’s release” (BBC, NYT).







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