China: Canadians Kevin and Julia Garratt investigated on suspicion of stealing state secrets
A Canadian couple is investigated by Chinese authorities on suspicion of stealing state secrets about China’s defense and the military, state media say.
Xinhua news agency named the suspects as Kevin and Julia Garratt. The couple runs a coffee shop in Dandong just across the border from North Korea.
The news agency said Dandong’s State Security Bureau was investigating the case.
Kevin and Julia Garratt taught in southern China for several years and then moved to Dandong, where they opened Peter’s Coffee House.
Dandong is the main China-North Korea border crossing and trade link.
The Xinhua report did not say whether the couple had been detained.
Besides running the cafe, the couple regularly held community events for people to practice their English and helped people to get in touch with North Korea tour organizers.
According to its website, the coffee shop is “only meters from the border of North Korea and Dandong’s Friendship Bridge” and is “the perfect stop off while en route to or returning from the Hermit Kingdom”.
Canada’s embassy in Beijing told Reuters news agency it was aware of the reports and stood “ready to provide assistance as required”.
Late last month, Canada announced that a top government research organization had been struck by Chinese “state-sponsored” hackers.
The Chinese embassy in Ottawa dismissed the report as a “groundless allegation”.