Third Canadian Citizen Detained in China

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged caution on Wednesday and said he would not be "stomping on a table" after China detained the third Canadian.

Ms. McIver, an Albertan teaching English in China, is under "administrative punishment", the foreign ministry said.

China said the two other Canadians were detained by the authorities for participating in activities "harming national security".

McIver, said to be from the Canadian province of Alberta, is described by those who know her as "bubbly" and "approachable", according to National Post, which has also released a picture thought to be of McIver. Global Affairs Canada said John McCallum, Canada's ambassador to China, met with Kovrig on Friday and Spavor on Sunday.

Canada's allies are concerned that Huawei might be forced by Chinese authorities to install backdoors in its equipment allowing Beijing's intelligence agencies and hackers unparalleled access to Canadian and Western communications systems.

Trudeau said he was asking China for more information on the detentions. "I now understand that it's always a lot more complicated than that".

"We are still very much in the situation of collecting more information on this", he said, suggesting the third Canadian was detained on more "routine" issues.

The Prime Minister's Office confirmed that the third detainee was working as a teacher in China and is a female.

The detentions of the Canadians followed the arrest in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

Global Affairs said consular officials are helping the family of the detained person.

The Canadian government has said several times it saw no explicit link between the arrest of Meng, the daughter of Huawei's founder, and the detentions of Kovrig and Spavor. The International Crisis Group, where Kovrig serves as North East Asia adviser, also had strong words for Beijing in its most recent statement: "Michael's arrest is unjust". China has demanded her immediate release, accusing Canada and the USA of conspiring together for political reasons and undermining Meng's "human rights".

"In China there are no coincidences". Washington wants the CFO extradited to the U.S.to face charges that her company allegedly worked to mislead financial institutions about ongoing business dealings with Iran, circumventing global sanctions. Two is bad. Three underlines how ruthless China can be. The national Canadian body that markets the country as a tourist destination is halting new advertisements in China, CBC News reported Wednesday. His detention has created worry about the safety of former diplomats who return to China.

"The very public manner of putting pressure on Canada to violate its own system of governance for the benefit of the Chinese Communist Party has opened peoples' eyes to how China views worldwide relations", said Peter Dahlin, the director of Safeguard Defenders, which tracks China's detention of people during investigations.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called for China to release the Canadians, saying their detention was "unlawful" and "unacceptable".

  • Jon Douglas