The Chinese Embassy in Canada said Michael Kovrig was allowed to have a phone conversation with his father, who is very ill.
The embassy said in a statement that it had authorized this on humanitarian grounds.
The embassy said it had also provided better food for Kovrig and his fellow Canadian detainee Michael Spavor to boost their immunity in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Kovrig, a diplomat on leave who worked with the International Crisis Group, and Spavor, an entrepreneur, have been jailed in China since December 2018 in what is widely seen as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of the Chinese high-tech scion Meng Wanzhou nine days earlier. .
Friday’s Chinese statement also maintains Beijing’s firm stance since the events of December 2018, which plunged China-Canada relations to a new low.
He says Kovrig and Spavor are “suspected” of endangering China’s national security and that their cases are being handled legally, while the Canadian government “cannot explain which law of Canada Ms. Meng Wanzhou has violated.”
The Canadian government maintains that the “two Michaels” are arbitrarily detained.
Meng was arrested by the RCMP on an extradition request from the United States.
Meng is out on bail and lives in a luxury house in Vancouver as his extradition hearing is still in a BC court.