Third Canadian detained in China

VIDEO: REUTERS

BEIJING • A third Canadian citizen has been detained in China, Canada's National Post newspaper reported yesterday, citing the Canadian Foreign Ministry.

At a daily news briefing in Beijing yesterday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said she was unaware of the report.

Two Canadians - former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor - were detained after Canadian police arrested Huawei Technologies' chief financial officer, Ms Meng Wanzhou, on Dec 1.

Canada's Global Affairs Office told the National Post that it was aware of a detention but did not provide details and did not suggest a connection to Ms Meng's detention.

The newspaper did not identify the third person detained, but a source who had spoken to the individual's family told the newspaper that the individual was not a diplomat or an entrepreneur.

Canada's embassy in Beijing did not immediately respond to an e-mail request for comment on the report.

The Canadian government has said there is also no explicit link between Ms Meng's arrest and the detentions of Mr Kovrig and Mr Spavor.

 
 
 

But Beijing-based Western diplomats and former Canadian diplomats have said they believe the detentions are a form of tit-for-tat reprisal by China, in response to Ms Meng's arrest.

United States prosecutors accuse Ms Meng of misleading multinational banks about Iran-linked transactions, putting the banks at risk of violating US sanctions.

Ms Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei's founder, has said she is innocent. She has been released on bail.

China has repeatedly called for Canada to correct its mistake and to release Ms Meng or face unspecified consequences.

Both Mr Kovrig and Mr Spavor are being investigated on suspicion of endangering China's state security, the Chinese government has said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 20, 2018, with the headline 'Third Canadian detained in China'. Print Edition | Subscribe