Michael spavor was detained in 2018 along with a fellow Canadian ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig.
This comes as an extradition battle involving Meng Wanzhou, a senior Huawei executive who was arrested in Canada on a US extradition warrant. Critics have accused that it was a politically motivated move and both of them will be treated as political bargaining chips, held as part of what is known as “hostage diplomacy”.
In a statement published on Wednesday, the Dandong court said: “For the crime of spying and illegal provision of state secrets abroad [Spavor] has been sentenced to 11 years in jail, confiscation of 50,000 yuan ($7,715: £5,578) worth of personal property and deportation.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the conviction was “absolutely unacceptable and unjust”.
Relations between the two nations has been worsen over the past few years, China has also accused Canada of Politicising legal cases.
“The verdict for Spavor comes after more than two-and-a-half years of arbitrary detention, a lack of transparency in the legal process, and a trial that did not satisfy even the minimum standards required by international law,” he said in a statement, according to a Reuters report. Spavor’s family have maintained that he was innocent, and was doing much as a businessman to further strengthen constructive ties between China, Canada and North Koreaa.