Third Canadian reportedly detained, China says not aware

Arturo Kim
December 20, 2018

China's foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, identified the third Canadian as Sarah McIver, who was serving "administrative punishment" due to "illegal employment".

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau however emphasised that the arrest did not seem to be linked to a former diplomat and an entrepreneur held for allegedly endangering China's national security.

Canadian officials declined to provide any detail about who the individual is or why they are being detained, citing privacy concerns.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference at United Nations headquarters in New York September 26, 2018.

The detentions of the Canadians - including one revealed yesterrday - followed the December 1 arrest in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

Conservative MP Erin O'Toole tweeted that on Tuesday his office "relayed concerns about another possible detention of a Canadian in China" to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Pressed at his end-of-year press conference Wednesday to explain why he had not personally intervened in the case, for example, by calling China's President Xi Jinping, Mr Trudeau said: "Political posturing or political statements aren't necessarily going to contribute, (and) in some cases they might actually hinder efforts to secure Canadians' release".

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Guy Saint-Jacques, the former Canadian ambassador to China, said he has considered whether it is safe to return to the country. "It serves as a reminder for people that China is a detention state".

"I want to be very, very careful about how we characterize (the detention of the third Canadian)", Trudeau said. Following the incident, National Defence officials reportedly had "contact with the Chinese Air Force operating" in the region.

Trudeau said Wednesday that the latest case, so far, doesn't involve serious allegations related to China's national security.

CNBC on Wednesday saw ominous signs of a market-disrupting diplomatic war breaking out if Canada grants the USA request to extradite Meng so she can face charges of bank fraud and sanctions-busting.

An Alberta woman has been detained in China, but federal officials do not believe there's any connection to the previous two detainments. Meng has been released on bail. On December 14, Wanzhou was released on bail; the stir her arrest has created is larger than one could have anticipated and according to CNBC, "it immediately hit United States stocks and sent global markets into a tailspin".

The first two cases appeared to be in retaliation for the arrest of a top Chinese tech executive in Canada on behalf of the United States.

'We have engaged with the Chinese officials to determine what exactly conditions are they being detained under?

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