China denies detained Canadian has diplomatic immunity

FILE - In this file image made from a video taken on March 28, 2018, Michael Kovrig, an adviser with the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based

FILE - In this file image made from a video taken on March 28, 2018, Michael Kovrig, an adviser with the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based

BEIJING (AP) — China says a former Canadian diplomat detained in China last month does not enjoy diplomatic immunity, rejecting a complaint from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau said last week that Chinese officials are not respecting the diplomatic immunity of Michael Kovrig. He was arrested along with Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor on vague national security allegations after a top Chinese executive with telecommunications giant Huawei was detained in Canada on Dec. 1 at the request of Washington.

However, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters Monday that Kovrig is no longer a diplomat and entered China most recently on an ordinary passport and business visa.

Kovrig, a Northeast Asia analyst for the International Crisis Group think tank, took a leave of absence from the Canadian government.