Robert Malley, president and CEO of International Crisis Group, said Kovrig wasn't endangering national security as Beijing has alleged, and that detaining him may deter the international investment community from doing business in China."I'm focused on getting him out and one thing I can say for sure, the one thing he wasn't doing is endangering China's national security", Malley told CBC News.
The State Department warning suggested that USA citizens of Chinese descent face higher risks.
After news broke of Kovrig and Spavor, Minister of Tourism Melanie Joly postponed a planned trip to China to attend a tourism event at the last minute.
Regarding a very slight number of foreigners suspected of violating laws and committing crimes in China, the Chinese authorities have always impartially handled cases in accordance with the law, and safeguarded their legal rights and interests, he added.
The new State Department warning also follows the arrest of several Chinese nationals in the USA on charges of espionage.
Lu's briefing, posted in English translation to the ministry's website, was one of two cryptic Chinese government media events that deepened the mystery surrounding the arrests of Kovrig and Spavor. It has demanded that Canada free Meng and threatened unspecified consequences if it does not. He said, "It is not convenient to disclose more information now".More news: Vegas Play of the Day: Spurs vs. Raptors
December 14: Canadian officials are granted consular access to Kovrig, and McCallum meets with him in Beijing.
The U.S State Department has called for the release of the two Canadians, while Germany, France, the European Union and Australia have also issued supportive statements.
"This doesn't shed much light", said Malley.
December 29: A Chinese court orders a retrial for Schellenberg, raising the possibility of a harsher sentence, including death.
The Chinese regime's top prosecutor said January 3 that two Canadians detained after Canada arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou had "without a doubt" violated the law.
In a statement, the Canadian government stated the 13 detention included Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor and Sarah McIver, and "at least" eight of those had been since released.
He reiterated Canada's call for the release of the two men. He says the investigation is also following the rule of law, but doesn't provide more details about the allegations.