China releases detained Canadian teacher Sarah McIver:The Asahi Shimbun

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying addresses a press conference in Beijing Dec. 28 2018

In the decision, the court noted that Canadian diplomats were in court for the appeal.

It was not immediately clear who Mr Schellenberg's lawyer was or when the retrial may take place.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has formally demanded the "immediate release" of the two Canadians.

Sarah McIver, an English teacher from Alberta, was arrested by the Chinese authorities over alleged work-permit violations.

Global Affairs Canada declined to provide any further information about McIver's return to Canada.

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.

Many observers believe the detentions of the two Canadians were in response to Canada's arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. Schellenberg had appealed after the verdict.

Lynette Ong, an associate professor in the University of Toronto's department of political science and Asian Institute, said that means the government likely wants the world to watch. Meng has said she is innocent.

"I would refer you to the competent authority for specifics".

According to China's Criminal Law, persons who smuggle, trafficking, transport or manufacture opium of not less than 1,000 grams, heroin or methylaniline of not less than 50 grams or other narcotic drugs of large quantities shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of 15 years, life imprisonment or death and also to confiscation of property.

"She's sweet, she's kind, she's happy, she's so smart - and she just loves different cultures", said Jenn Smith, who has known Ms. McIver for about a decade.

"I can't see inside the judge's head or what his instructions from the party might be, but this is just not a good time".

Tensions between the two governments have been high since Canada's arrest of a high-ranking Chinese executive at the request of the United States this month, followed by China's detainment of two Canadian citizens on suspicion of endangering state security.

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