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Dear President Xi Jinping,

We, the undersigned scholars, former diplomats and others with an interest in understanding China and building bridges, are deeply concerned about the recent detentions of Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. We request that you immediately release Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor so that they may be reunited with their families.

Many of us know Michael Kovrig through his work as a diplomat in Beijing and as the senior expert for Northeast Asia at the International Crisis Group, an organization whose mission is to “build a more peaceful world.” In both roles, Mr. Kovrig regularly and openly met with Chinese officials, researchers and scholars to better understand China’s positions on a range of important international issues. Michael Spavor has devoted his time to the task of building relationships between North Korea and China, Canada, the United States and elsewhere.

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These meetings and exchanges are the foundation of serious research and diplomacy around the world, including for Chinese scholars and diplomats. However, Mr. Kovrig’s and Mr. Spavor’s detentions send a message that this kind of constructive work is unwelcome and even risky in China. We who share Mr. Kovrig’s and Mr. Spavor’s enthusiasm for building genuine, productive and lasting relationships must now be more cautious about travelling and working in China and engaging our Chinese counterparts. That will lead to less dialogue and greater distrust, and undermine efforts to manage disagreements and identify common ground. Both China and the rest of the world will be worse off as a result.

We therefore respectfully ask you to free these two Canadian citizens.

Signatories (institutional affiliations are included for identification purposes only and do not imply institutional endorsement):

Diplomatic Community

Alton, Lord David. Member of the House of Lords, former member of the House of Commons, United Kingdom

Berner, Örjan. Former Ambassador of Sweden to Russia, Poland, India, Germany and France

Bild, Fred. Former Ambassador of Canada to China

Caron, Joseph. Former Ambassador of Canada to China

Chhabra, Tarun. Former Director, Strategic Planning, U.S. National Security Council; Fellow, the Brookings Institution

Drake, Earl. Former Ambassador of Canada to China and Indonesia

Edel, Charles. Former senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry; Senior Fellow, U.S. Studies Center, University of Sydney

Evans, Gareth. Former Foreign Minister of Australia; President Emeritus of International Crisis Group

Fuchs, Michael. Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs

Garnaut, John. Former Senior Adviser to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Garside, Roger. Former First Secretary (Political), British Embassy Beijing; former Director of Public Affairs, London Stock Exchange

Guajardo, Jorge. Former Ambassador of Mexico to China

Hum, Sir Christopher, KCMG. Former Ambassador of the U.K. to China

Locke, Gary. Former Ambassador of the U.S. to China; former U.S. Commerce Secretary

Lord, Winston. Former Ambassador of the U.S. to China; former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs

Medeiros, Evan S. Penner Family Chair in Asian Studies, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University; former Senior Director for Asian Affairs, U.S. National Security Council

Mitchell, Derek. Former Ambassador of the U.S. to Myanmar; former U.S. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense; President, National Democratic Institute

Mulroney, David. Former Ambassador of Canada to China; Senior Fellow, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

Parton, Charles. Adviser, U.K. House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee; former adviser, British Embassy in Beijing; former adviser, E.U. Delegation to Beijing

Patten, Christopher, CH. Former European Commissioner for External Relations; Chancellor of the University of Oxford

Rifkind, Sir Malcolm, KCMG, QC. Former Foreign Secretary of the U.K.; Distinguished Fellow, Royal United Services Institute

Saint-Jacques, Guy. Former Ambassador of Canada to China

Shirk, Susan. Former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State

Skala, Björn. Former Ambassador of Sweden to China; Former Swedish Under Secretary for Political Affairs

Smith, Ric. Former Ambassador of Australia to China

Stanzel, Volker. Former Ambassador of Germany to China; Vice President, German Council on Foreign Relations

Wright, Robert. Former Ambassador of Canada to China

Academic community

Ako, Tomoko. Associate Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo

Alford, William P. Vice Dean, Graduate Program and International Legal Studies, and Director, East Asian Legal Studies Program, Harvard Law School

Almén, Oscar. Research Fellow, Department of Government, Uppsala University

Baksi, Kurdo. Sweden-based writer and commentator; winner of the Olof Palme Prize in 1999

Barmé, Geremie. Professor Emeritus, Australian National University; Founding Director, Australian Centre on China in the World

Batongbacal, Jay L. Professor, College of Law, University of the Philippines

Baviera, Aileen. Professor of China Studies, Asian Center, University of the Philippines

Beaugrand-Champagne, Jérôme. Li Ka Shing Visiting Professor of Practice, Faculty of Law, McGill University

Beeson, Mark. Professor of Political Science and International Relations, University of Western Australia

Béja, Jean-Philippe. Emeritus Senior Research Fellow at the National Center for Scientific Research and the Center for International Studies and Research, Sciences-Po

Benner, Thorsten. Director, Global Public Policy Institute

Berger, Bernt. Director, Asia Department, German Council on Foreign Relations

Berkofsky, Axel. Professor, Department of Political and Social Sciences, University of Pavia, Italy

Bisley, Nick. Head, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Professor of International Relations, La Trobe University

Bonnin, Michel. Director of Studies, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales

Brady, Anne-Marie. Professor in Political Science and International Relations, University of Canterbury

Brook, Timothy. Republic of China Chair, Department of History, University of British Columbia

Bring, Ove. Professor Emeritus of International Law, Stockholm University

Bush, Richard C. Washington-based senior scholar on Northeast Asia studies

Callahan, Bill. Professor of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science

Clarke, Donald. Professor of Law and David Weaver Research Professor, George Washington University Law School

Coggins, Bridget L. Associate Professor of Political Science, University of California, Santa Barbara

Cohen, Jerome A. Professor, Chair of U.S.-Asia Law Institute, New York University School of Law; Adjunct Senior Fellow for Asia, Council on Foreign Relations

Cook, Malcolm. Non-resident Fellow, Lowy Institute

Cooper, Zack. American Enterprise Institute

Creutzfeldt, Benjamin. Non-resident Fellow, Foreign Policy Institute, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University.

Davis, Michael C. Professor of Law and International Affairs, O.P. Jindal Global University

Davies, Gloria. Professor of Chinese Studies, Monash University

Doshi, Rush. Brookings-Yale Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dube, Clayton. University of Southern California

Dussel Peters, Enrique. Professor, National Autonomous University of Mexico; Director, Centre for China-Mexico Studies

Dutton, Peter A. Senior Fellow, U.S.-Asia Law Institute, New York University School of Law

Economy, Elizabeth C. C.V. Starr Senior Fellow and Director, Asia Studies, Council on Foreign Relations; Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Ellström, Lars. Sinologist; retired banker; former Swedish Cultural Attaché to China

Esteban, Mario. Senior Analyst, the Elcano Royal Institute; Senior Lecturer at the Centre for East Asian Studies, the Autonomous University of Madrid

Falkenheim, Victor C. Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

Fällman, Fredrik. Associate Professor of Sinology, University of Gothenburg

Fewsmith, Joseph. Professor of International Relations, Boston University Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies

Fiskesjö, Magnus. Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University

Forsby, Andreas Bøje. Researcher, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, University of Copenhagen

Fravel, M. Taylor. Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Fullilove, Michael. Executive Director, Lowy Institute

Funabashi, Yoichi. Chairman, Asia Pacific Initiative

Gallagher, Mary E. Professor, Department of Political Science and Director, Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, University of Michigan

Glaser, Bonnie. Senior advisor for Asia and director of the China Power Project, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Goddard, Stacie. Professor, Department of Political Science, Wellesley College

Godement, François. Senior Advisor for Asia, Institut Montaigne

Hart, Melanie. Senior Fellow and Director of China Policy, Center for American Progress

Hayton, Bill. Associate Fellow, Chatham House

Heginbotham, Eric. Principal Research Scientist, Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Hemmings, John. Director, Asia Studies Centre, Henry Jackson Society

Heydarian, Richard. Manila-based columnist and scholar

Hilpert, Hanns Günther. Berlin-based senior researcher on Asia Studies

Hosoya, Yuichi. Professor of International Politics, Faculty of Law, Keio University

Howson, Nicholas Calcina. Professor, University of Michigan Law School

Hughes, Christopher. Professor of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science

Hui, Victoria Tin-bor. Associate Professor, University of Notre Dame

Huotari, Mikko. Deputy Director, Mercator Institute for China Studies

Ishii, Tomoaki. Professor, Meiji University

Jones, Bruce. Former senior officer, United Nations; foreign policy scholar, Washington, DC

Kawashima, Shin. Professor, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, The University of Tokyo

Kennedy, Scott. Senior Adviser, Freeman Chair in China Studies, and Director, Project on Chinese Business and Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies

Kirchberger, Sarah. Head, Center for Asia-Pacific Strategy and Security, Institute for Security Policy at Kiel University

Kleine-Brockhoff, Thomas. Vice President, German Marshall Fund of the United States

Koh, Swee Lean Collin. Research Fellow, Nanyang Technological University

Kuok, Lynn. Visiting Scholar, Paul Tsai China Center, Yale Law School

Lampton, David. Professor Emeritus and Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Institute, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University

Lankov, Andrei. Professor, Kookmin University

Legarda, Helena. Research Associate, Mercator Institute for China Studies

Leonard, Mark. Director, European Council on Foreign Relations

Lodén, Torbjörn. Professor Emeritus of Chinese Language and Culture, Stockholm University

Mair, Victor H. Professor of Chinese Language and Literature, University of Pennsylvania

McGregor, Richard. Senior Fellow, Lowy Institute

Mearsheimer, John J. R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago

Medcalf, Rory. Professor and Head, National Security College, Australian National University

Nakayama, Toshihiro. Professor, Faculty of Policy Management, Keio Univerity

Naughton, Barry J. Sokwanlok Chair of Chinese International Affairs, School of Global Policy and Strategy, University of California at San Diego

Nilsson-Wright, John. Senior Lecturer in Modern Japanese Studies, University of Cambridge

Odgaard, Liselotte. Research Fellow, the Danish Foreign Policy Society

Oertel, Janka. Transatlantic Fellow, the Asia Program, German Marshall Fund of the United States

Otero-Iglesias, Miguel. Senior Analyst, Elcano Royal Institute; Professor of Practice in International Political Economy, IE School of Global and Public Affairs

Paderni, Paola. Associate Professor of the History and Institutions of China, University of Naples “L’Orientale"

Patey, Luke. Senior Researcher, Danish Institute for International Studies

Pei, Minxin. Tom and Margot Pritzker ’72 Professor of Government and Director, Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies, Claremont McKenna College

Perry, Elizabeth J. Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government, Harvard University

Pieke, Frank. Director, Mercator Institute for China Studies; Professor of Modern Chinese Studies, Leiden University

Piquet, Hélène. Canada Research Chair in Chinese Law and Globalization, Juridical Sciences Department, Quebec University in Montreal

Poggetti, Lucrezia. Research Associate, Mercator Institute for China Studies

Potter, Pitman. Professor of Law and Director, Chinese Legal Studies, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia

Raine, Sarah. Non-resident Transatlantic Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States

Rapp-Hooper, Mira. Senior Research Scholar in Law and Senior Fellow, Paul Tsai China Center, Yale Law School

Ratner, Ely. Executive Vice President and Director of Studies, Center for a New American Security

Reilly, Benjamin. Professor of Politics and International Relations, University of Western Australia

Rosen, Daniel H. Partner, Rhodium Group; Adjunct Professor, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

Schell, Orville. Arthur Ross Director, Center on U.S.-China Relations, Asia Society

Segal, Adam. Director, Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program, Council on Foreign Relations

Shih, Victor. Professor, University of California San Diego

Shi-Kupfer, Kristin. Director, Research Area on Public Policy and Society, Mercator Institute for China Studies

Small, Andrew. Senior Transatlantic Fellow, Asia Program, German Marshall Fund of the United States

Stanzel, Angela. Senior Policy Fellow, Institut Montaigne

Storey, Ian. Senior fellow, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute

Swaine, Michael D. Senior Fellow, Asia Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Szonyi, Michael. Director, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University

Takahara, Akio. Dean, Graduate School of Public Policy, The University of Tokyo

Thayer, Carlyle. Emeritus Professor, University of New South Wales, Canberra

Tønnesson, Stein. Research Professor, Peace Research Institute Oslo

Townshend, Ashley. Director, Foreign Policy and Defense, U.S. Studies Centre, Sydney University

Trevaskes, Sue. Professor, Griffith University; Adjunct Director, Australian Centre on China in the World, Australian National University

Tsang, Steve. Director, China Institute, School of Oriental and African Studies

Wacker, Gudrun. Berlin-based senior researcher on Asia studies

Wasserstrom, Jeffrey N. Chancellor’s Professor of History, University of California, Irvine

Weidenfeld, Jan. Head of European Affairs and Business Strategy, Mercator Institute for China Studies

Wesley, Michael. Dean, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University

White, Lynn. Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Scholar, Princeton University

Wright, Thomas. Senior Fellow, the Brookings Institution

Zenglein, Max J. Head of Program Economic Research, Mercator Institute for China Studies

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