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China Charges Canadian with Spying and Stealing

Peter Garratt, one of the sons of Canadian couple Kevin and Julia Dawn Garratt, who are being investigated in China for threatening national security, stands outside his parents' coffee shop as he talks to Reuters journalists in Dandong, Liaoning province
China Charges Canadian with Spying and Stealing
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China said Friday it has charged a Canadian with spying and stealing state secrets.

Kevin Garratt was arrested in August 2014 with his wife, Julia. She was released after six months but is not allowed to leave China. She and her husband ran a coffee shop in Dandong in northeastern China. They also conducted Christian aid work for North Koreans.

"During the investigation, authorities found that Kevin Garratt may also be involved in gathering information for Canadian information agencies," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in Beijing.

Garratt's parents said their son was arrested because he is Christian.

Hua rejected that it has anything to do with religion. She said "he was indicted because of spying and stealing Chinese state secrets.” China's concept of state secrets can be very broad.

Canada said it was concerned about the Garratt indictment. It has raised the issue with the Chinese government "at high levels." A week ago, Canada accused Chinese hackers of breaking into a key computer network.

News of the indictment reached Canadian officials one day after they attended a lavish party hosted by China in Ottawa, the Canadian capital. It marked the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

I’m Anne Ball.

Kathleen Struck adapted this story for Learning English from VOA news. Hai Do was the editor.

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Words in This Story

indicted –v. to be formally charged with a crime

concept –n. the idea of what something is or how it works

hacker –n. person who secretly gets access to a computer system to get information, or cause damage

lavish –adj. giving or using a large amount of something