An Alberta woman has been detained in China, but federal officials do not believe there’s any connection to the previous two detainments.
She has been identified as Sarah McIver, of Alberta, and had been teaching in China. She was detained and questioned over a visa issue.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the situation earlier on Wednesday, saying that McIver’s case did not appear to be linked to “a matter of national security for the Chinese.”
“The first indications are that this is a very separate case compared to the two others that occurred,” Trudeau told journalists at his year-end news conference. “The others that were arrested at the start of the week were accused of serious crimes, problems regarding national security, intelligence.”
Earlier in December, China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor in Beijing.
This followed the Dec. 1 arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of tech giant Huawei Technologies in Vancouver at the request of the United States. She was arrested over allegations of fraud.
A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada confirmed to CTV News they were “aware of a Canadian citizen detained in China,” but said they could not provide further information on the case citing privacy concerns.
For its part, China has now granted Canada access to both Spavor and Kovrig. Global Affairs Canada said John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Kovrig on Friday and Spavor on Sunday.
Last week, Meng was released on a $10-million bail in Vancouver. She is due back in court in February, for what is expected to be a lengthy legal proceeding.
During his year-ender news conference, the prime minister was grilled by journalists on worsening relations with China.
“We have engaged in a very thoughtful way on trying to get the best outcome and sometimes politicizing or amplifying the level of public discourse on this may be satisfying in the short term, but would not contribute to the outcome we all want,” Trudeau said.
“We have been consistent in our engagement with China. We’ve always been unequivocal in standing up for human rights and the rule of law.”