Third Canadian citizen detained in China, Global Affairs Canada confirms

Canada's foreign affairs department has only confirmed that it is aware a third citizen has been detained in China.

"With three Canadians being detained multinationals will now have to start to consider or discuss internally if their duty of care to their staff means they need to be more careful with staff being posted to China", he said. He added that the new case "doesn't seem to fit the pattern of facts on the previous two".

Sarah McIver is being held in China for working illegally, Beijing said Thursday as the detention of yet another Canadian struck a note of fear around the world.

Guy Saint-Jacques, the former Canadian ambassador to China, said he has considered whether it is safe to return to the country.

The news initially caused concern among some China-watchers, who suspected that the case could be connected to two previous arrests of Canadians in China this month.

No details have been given on the latest, but Trudeau said it was "a very separate case" from last week when former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor were detained amid the diplomatic quarrel triggered by Meng's arrest.

"Consular officials are providing assistance to the family".

The ministry, however, did not explain if the third detention was linked to Meng's arrest.

"We are, of course, taking any and every situation seriously, as we always do", Trudeau said.

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The arrest of a third Canadian citizen could cloud relations between the two countries, which has been marred amid an ongoing trade dispute between the United States and China.

When China responds to criticism of the Kovrig/Spavor detentions by raising the Meng case, that is an admission that it's all about retaliation. As Iran and the United States have not had any formal diplomatic relations since 1980, trade between China and Iran has made the USA more wary of the already delicate relations they have with China.

Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou as part of a USA -led extradition bid, although Beijing has deflected questions about any link between the detentions and the Chinese executive's case.

Her arrest enraged China which demanded her release and warned of serious consequences.

Michael Kovrig, the first Canadian detained in China earlier this month following the arrest of Huawei's CFO, also has Hungarian nationality, sources familiar with the matter said.

Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau, urged caution on Wednesday and said he would not be "stomping on a table" after China detained the third Canadian.

But Beijing-based Western diplomats and former Canadian diplomats have said they believed the detentions were a "tit-for-tat" reprisal by China.

The Australian paper said the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, comprising of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom and the USA, met in Nova Scotia in July to discuss what to do about Huawei. Canadian diplomats were granted consular access to both men last week.

Meng has been accused of violating USA sanctions against Iran between 2009 and 2014 through the use of Huawei's subsidiary, Skycom, a telecom equipment company which was conducting business with Iran.

  • Sonia Alvarado