China says Canadian woman being punished for working illegally

Chinese authorities arrest third Canadian

A third Canadian arrested in China is not being held over national security concerns, unlike two previous cases, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.

"It serves as a reminder for people that China is a detention state", he said. "We're now looking at them".

Canadian lawmaker Erin O'Toole said that the case involved visa irregularities for an Alberta woman who had been teaching in China.

An agency spokesperson provided no further details, and drew no link between the case and those of two other Canadians detained last week in China, the National Post said.

"Consular officials are providing assistance to the family", the spokesperson added in a statement to NPR.

Although several Canadian officials commented to various media outlets that they have no reason to think the third detention is linked to the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, virtually every media outlet and commentator seems to assume there is at least some connection to China's fury over Meng's arrest. "I now understand that it's always a lot more complicated than that", he said.

"Global Affairs Canada is aware of a Canadian citizen detained in China".

"There's hundreds of Canadians in one way or another working (in China) and is this something that they should worry about - existing visas?"

Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, was arrested in Canada on December 1 at the request of the United States, which wants her extradited to face charges that she and her company misled banks about the company's business dealings in Iran.

Meng has been released on bail as she awaits an extradition hearing, though she has been ordered to remain in Canada in the meantime.

Hu declined to comment on the arrest in Canada of Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzou on a USA arrest warrant, but expressed confidence in "the judicial independence and fairness" of the Canadian and US legal systems. Washington wants the CFO extradited to the face charges that her company allegedly worked to mislead financial institutions about ongoing business dealings with Iran, circumventing global sanctions.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged caution and said he would not be "stomping on a table" after China detained the third Canadian. The other, Michael Spavor, is a businessman who arranges tours of North Korea. Incidentally, Wanzhou's arrest took place on the same day that US President Donald Trump and Xi Jinping (the president of China) met in Buenos Aires and agreed to a trade ceasefire for 90 days during which time, both parties would negotiate.

China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and China-based business consultant Michael Spavor on December 10.

Mulroney said it would be a problem for Canada and China.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying identified the third Canadian as Ms Sarah McIver, who was serving " administrative punishment" due to "illegal employment".

Meng has since been released on bail and is to return to court early next year for what could be an extended legal proceeding. Canadian diplomats were granted consular access to both men last week.

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