China frees Canadian national detained for working illegally

  • Canadian teacher Sarah McIver has now returned to her country
World

OTTAWA – A Canadian teacher arrested in China for administrative reasons — a case officially unrelated to the ongoing diplomatic row between Beijing and Ottawa — has been freed, authorities said Friday.

Global Affairs Canada “confirms that a Canadian citizen, who was detained in China in December, was released and has now returned to Canada,” spokesman Richard Walker said, without providing further details.

The arrest of Sarah McIver, a teacher accused of working illegally in China, was announced shortly after that of two other Canadian nationals: former diplomat Michael Kovrig, employed by think tank International Crisis Group (ICG), and Michael Spavor, a consultant on North Korea, on December 10.

China detains another Canadian for working illegally

The two men, whom China arrested on December 10, were detained on suspicion of “harm to national security” — a phrase often used by Beijing when alleging espionage.

Ex-Canadian diplomat detained in China amid tensions

The detention of the three Canadians comes against a backdrop of escalating tensions between China and Canada, which arrested Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wangzhou on December 1.

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Meng was released on bail last week in Vancouver pending a US extradition hearing on US fraud charges related to sanctions-breaking business dealings with Iran.