In the recent "prisoner swap" between China and Canada, it has been claimed that besides the obvious timing of the flights, the Chinese conditions for the release of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig match those of Meng:

“What’s bizarre about it is that their conditions for release match Meng’s exactly, almost word for word,” said Stephanie Carvin, associate professor of international relations at Carleton University.

However, it's not clear how one can be certain of this since much of the legal paperwork hasn't been made public, as far as I can tell. Have other sources looked at the paperwork and come with the same conclusion?

I find a little hard to believe because (1) one side (China) is still trying to pretend it wasn't a swap and (2) Meng agreed not to make any statements contradicting her "statement of fact" (in which she admits quite a few things incriminating Huawei) as part of the conditions of her deferred prosecution (for two years IIRC) or else prosecution against her would be resumed. I find unlikely that (even) China would have asked for something like that of Spavor, who was already convicted (11 years). Kovrig's trial was also practically over, except for sentencing, IIRC.

  • 6
    Why is it surprising that one side would copy the language used by the other side? Sep 27 at 21:57
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    And what is "obvious" about the timing of the flights? What does this timing suggest?
    – npst
    Sep 28 at 8:49
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    @npst From what I've heard on the radio here in Toronto, the angle is that this is unofficially but obviously an exchange. The reason that's interesting is that there appears to be no reason for holding the two Michaels for anything they did themselves; hence, their release coordinated with Meng's looks like a hostage-taking. If so, it raises the question of what two civilized allies are doing taking each other's citizens hostage. (Of course, the Canadian side says Meng was not a hostage, but a criminal, and besides, the Michaels were detained after her, as if in retaliation.) Sep 28 at 10:24
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    Note that the Chinese are also selling it as a coincidence. "Their case is entirely different." Also, from their side, the two Michaels are charged with espionage, but from the point of view espoused by Canadian media, that's "intentional gaslighting": phrase used on CBC yesterday. So the question is whether they were kidnapped as a hostage exchange or whether the official narrative of two independent criminal investigations is correct. Flight timing and mirrored language suggests the former (goes the argument). Sep 28 at 10:33
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    Ah, I see. From what i read on the media I always understood it was a "real" exchange, not an unofficial one
    – npst
    Sep 28 at 10:42

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