World News

Third Canadian detained in China

Third Canadian detained in China

A third Canadian has been detained in China, Global Affairs confirmed Wednesday morning, following the arrest of Chinese telecommunications executive Meng Wanzhou in Canada earlier this month.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau however emphasised that the arrest did not seem to be linked to a former diplomat and an entrepreneur held for allegedly endangering China's national security.

Consular officials are providing assistance to the detainee's family, Global Affairs Canada said.

She was taken into custody at the request of the USA government and is free on CAN$10 million bail while awaiting an extradition hearing. She has been released on bail. It said third-party sources suggest the person is neither a diplomat, nor a businessperson.

Canadian officials did not connect the most recent arrest to the recent diplomatic turbulence between the countries.

Asked at what point he might escalate his concerns to China's president, Trudeau said political posturing or statements are not necessarily going to help those detained.

The recent detentions of two Canadians has raised suspicions that Beijing is holding them in retaliation for Meng's December 1 arrest, though no link has officially been made between the cases. According to the canadian newspaper "National Post" has been detained in China now, apparently, the third canadian citizens by the police.

"Far from being secretive, Michael's work was open for all to see, Chinese officials first and foremost", ICG president and CEO Robert Malley has said in a statement, referring to the detainee's past and present roles.

Third Canadian detained in China - report
China detains third Canadian in wake of Huawei CFO's arrest, Global Affairs confirms

China said the two other Canadians were detained by the authorities for participating in activities "harming national security".

But David Mulroney, a former ambassador to China, said it would be highly unusual if this is a coincidence. "I have not heard of it", said ministry's spokesperson Hua Chunying.

The reference is to Liú Xiǎobō 刘晓波, of course, the famous dissident to one-party Communist rule, who died in detention previous year and wrote Charter 08 calling for democracy in China a decade ago.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, meanwhile, has called for China to release the Canadians, saying their detention was "unlawful" and "unacceptable". Two is awful. Three underlines how ruthless China can be.

"'Hostage diplomacy' is repulsive in the global community and any country that practices it will significantly damage its reputation, worldwide image, and credibility as an global partner", he said.

If governments let this slide, they are acquiescing in China's being able to detain any ex diplomat to question him or her, under considerable duress, about anything.

"The detention of Ms. Meng is not a mere judicial case, but a premeditated political action in which the United States wields its regime power to witch-hunt a Chinese high-tech company out of political consideration", Lu said.

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