Canadians Kevin, 54 and Julia Garratt, 53 have been detained under arrest in China since August 2014, accused of being spies disguised as “ordinary citizens.”
In the mid-80’s I met Kevin and Julia in Montreal. They were newly married and envisioning their future. Their dream was to move to China.
We’ve become long-distance friends since then. They are good people, now parents of four children, and looking forward to being grandparents.
For three decades, the Garratts lived and worked in China. They are entrepreneurs at heart, initiating projects like, “Kingdom of Hope,” which helps special needs children, and most recently operated a café they named after their son, in Dandong.
They love China and have poured their energy into making life better for those around them.
The Garratt have lived their lives as role models, to all ages, of compassion, kindness, hard work, commitment, and service.
Dandong, located in the northern part of the country, is close to the North Korean border.
China’s Xinhua News Agency reported that the couple was being investigated by the state security bureau on suspicion of stealing state military secrets.
A Timeline From China
August 31, 2016
During a press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Bejiing on August 31, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made reference to a Canadian citizen who had been detained in China for two years on suspicion of spying, saying he would be treated humanely and his case would be handled in accordance with the law. Premier Li did not mention Garratt by name at that time.
April 7, 2015
On April 7 a thirty minute consular visit was granted to Julia and her sister to see Kevin. “We are grateful for the ongoing support and concern of the Canadian Government. It was a month since the consulate or Julia had seen him.
I am thankful to the Chinese for granting our request for me to see Kevin. This was a gracious thing they did and not required. He is feeling very discouraged. I reinforced to him that he is never forgotten and that so many people believe in him, love and care for him.”
March 3, 2015
210 Days have passed since the detainment.
Both Julia and Kevin’s fathers turned 80 during this time.
Their children and grandchildren all had a birthday (one is coming up in March).
A 25th Anniversary, a wedding, an engagement were missed.
A daughter started university.
January 11, 2015
160 days have passed since Julia and Kevin where detained. Time moves on. So many milestones have passed and hopes kindled yet there is no word of any change from the governments.
One of Kevin and Julia’s favourite sayings is, “Let us not become weary in well doing, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
December 7, 2014
An outdoor Candlelight Vigil was held for Julia and Kevin on Sunday December 7th by her family.
November 4, 2014
While Prime Minister Stephen Harper was on his official visit to China, Simeon Garratt was also in the country to meet with lawyers, embassy officials, and – he hoped – his parents. That did not happen. However he met with the Canadian consul.
The consul told Simeon that, relative to other consular cases, the Canadian visitations have been phenomenal. Canadian consular officers have actually been able to see his parents every two weeks.
The Chinese officials accepted almost every request that the Garratts made, like giving them more time outside, giving them access to additional reading materials, and being able to watch TV.
So it seems that the trust is building, and they’re being treated well.
Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, was scheduled to take a late fall trip to China. The Canadian government threatened to cancel the Prime Minister’s trip to China if the Garratts weren’t released.
The threat was later toned down and Harper traveled to China.
August 4, 2014
The couple’s son, Simeon Garratt, said he had no idea why his parents had been detained after living in the country for so long.
“My only assumption is that there was some sort of misinformation along the way. It’s just an absurdly crazy story. It just makes no sense to me at all.”
After two days of silence, the Garratts were able to send a message to their son, saying they are not under physical duress but are confused and upset about the allegations.
“They just wanted everybody to know that they’re safe,” Simeon Garratt told The Canadian Press.
“Physically they’re fine, but they’re really, at this point, just very frustrated and confused and are just hoping that the Chinese government is able to see the truth.”
In a year of HOPE, we are trusting along with the Garratts’ family that 2015 will see their soon release.
APPLICATION: Thank you for doing what you can in prayer and letters.
Read more about the Garratts here.
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On Sunday, I went to Chapter’s looking for the books recommended in the service. I found a woman from our congregation searching the same books at the same time. I was encouraged to see others from our church family responding to the message given. I’m sure many more are responding not only to the books titles shared, but to the call for prayer: Hope and Freedom for the Garrat Family. I’m excited to soon see the results of our prayers as a church. Prayers changes things….of this I am certain.
Your article comes at an important and hopeful time! With the Lunar New Year coming on February 19th, it is vital for hope to rise up in all of our hearts! If the authorities are going to show any grace or mercy – this is potentially the most likely time of the year! Let’s all take our responsibility as intercessors very seriously – especially should the Holy Spirit lead you in that way.
You just never know who you’ll meet in Chapters, do you! Hope you found your books. Thanks for praying for the Garratts.
Thanks for joining the conversation, George, and for your insight into timing and for praying!
Thanks for posting PB. Travis and I often think of the Garratts and hope for their release. Thanks for the update, we’ll keep them in our prayers.
Great to hear from you! I believe I’ll get to see you guys this Sat!