Two Canadians who have been detained in China for three years were released Friday, according to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, hours after the U.S. reached an agreement with a Huawei executive in a fraud case. “These two men have gone through an unbelievably difficult ordeal,” Trudeau said, per The New York Times. “For the past thousand days they have shown strength, perseverance, resilience and grace, and we are all inspired by that.” Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, both of whom were based in China, were arrested and charged with espionage in 2018, shortly after Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, was detained in Canada under the direction of U.S. authorities.
The U.S. had accused Meng of helping steal trade secrets, part of a Trump administration effort to tie the tech company to the Chinese government. The arrest of the “two Michaels,” as they’re often referred to in Canadian media, was widely seen as retaliatory. Meng was released Friday after the U.S. agreed to drop her charges in exchange for her admitting wrongdoing in the fraud case.