CHINA TOPIX

Updated 2:12 PM EST, Wed, Jan 29, 2020

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Canadian Woman Jailed In China For Alleged Spying Released On Bail

Simeon Garratt

(Photo : Reuters / Ben Nelms) Simeon Garratt, son of Canadian couple Kevin and Julia Dawn Garratt who are being investigated in China for threatening national security, talks to a Reuters journalist outside of his residence in Vancouver, British Columbia August 5, 2014.

A Canadian woman jailed in China over spying allegations was released on bail and is due to attend a pending trial for the case, China's Foreign Ministry confirmed.

Julia Garratt will reportedly be tried by Liaoning Provincial State Security Bureau but there has been no given specific date yet. According to reports, Julia and her husband Kevin Garratt have been detained since August 4, 2014 in Dandong where they were running their coffee shop.

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The couple was detained last year amid a diplomatic rift between China and Canada over hacking allegations. In November, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper brought up the couple's situation although no details were reported about the response of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.

Julia said that they were under constant surveillance for six months and were kept separately. The sudden release of Julia came as a surprise but she is not allowed to leave the country until after a year.

As for her husband, the Garratt family said he was transferred in a "more formal" detention center but the location was not disclosed.

According to a Canadian foreign affairs spokesman, Kevin's whereabouts and situation remain their top priorities and that they will be raising the subject to the senior officials of China.

Kevin or Julia have never been charged or arrested and no evidence against the couple was ever presented. According to the son of the couple, Simeon Garratt, there is still a lot of uncertainty as to what is going on with his father and what his mother will be facing in the trial.

According to the Beijing lawyer, James Zimmerman, who represents the Garratts, he has called on the Chinese government to ensure that the issue and the case will be handled with transparency and due process.

In a statement delivered on Thursday, the Foreign Ministry of China has assured the transparency in the case: "Relevant Chinese offices will deal with this case by law, and will also guarantee the legal rights of the two persons based on the law."

The Garrats first moved to China in 1984 and taught English, had a translation company, and helped community centers. When they transferred to Dandong, Julia taught at a university while Kevin was a Pentecostal pastor. They reportedly moved to the North Korean border because they wanted to share the message of God and Jesus to the people of North Korea.

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