Michael Kovrig reunited with family at Pearson Airport
Six weeks ago I wrote about the outrageous prison sentence given to Canadian Michael Spavor at the conclusion of his phoney trial in China. Everyone knew that neither of the Michaels -- Spavor and Kovrig -- were gulty of any crime but they were incarcerated in relatiation for the onging detainment of Huawei executive Meng Wangzhou. Her extradition hearing to the United States had stretched on for years and the Chinese were punishing Canada through these two men despite denying that this was the case.
Yesterday Meng struck a plea deal with the US, agreeing to pay a substantial fine for wrongdoing without admitting guilt -- figure that one out. Within hours the two Michaels were released from prison and on a plane back to Canada. None of the former diplomats and journalists following this situation anticipated this immediate release, assuming that the Chinese government would want to save face by holding both men for a time, perhaps months.
Many Christian communities prayed for the Michaels in worship services, including Trenton United where we attend. Their circumstances certainly seemed bleak. In my August blog I mentioned that the apostle Paul, John the Baptist, and possibly Jesus on the night he was tried, were held in jails . We can only imagine how they felt and what their prayers were. I also offered:
As helpless and outraged as we may feel, we can continue to pray for the release of both of the Michaels, held under terrible circumstances. We can also pray for another Canadian, Robert Schellenberg, who was sentenced to death in China for drug smuggling a few days ago. After originally receiving a lengthy prison sentence he was retried and given the death penalty, again in what is an act of retaliation. His crime doesn't warrant this draconian punishment.
We can be thankful for the determined diplomcacy of the Canadian government and the effort of the United States to secure this outcome. There must have been a lot of behind-the-scenes work which didn't involve bluster and postering.
We can continue to pray for Schellenberg, even as we celebrate the return to Canada of Spavor and Kovrig. Thank God they are home!