China says Canadian woman being punished for working illegally

by Garry Watts December 21, 2018, 2:17
China says Canadian woman being punished for working illegally

China's Foreign Affairs Ministry reportedly has said that it was not aware of a third Canadian detained in China.

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

Michael Kovrig, a diplomat on leave from his post in Hong Kong, and Michael Spavor, entrepreneur who helped organize tourist trips to North Korea, were seized by Chinese state security officers nine days after Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was taken into custody on Canada's Pacific coast.

Along with the third still-unidentified Canadian, former diplomat Michael Kovrig and business consultant Michael Spavor are also being detained.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called last Friday for China to release the Canadians, saying their detention was "unlawful" and "unacceptable".

"I wonder myself if I were to go to China right now, would they say this is a great target for us?" said Mr. Saint-Jacques, who has been critical of China. He raised the possibility of it being a visa issue. The relationship between the two has been a complex one; however, for the most part it has remained strong and somewhat positive, although chances are that it may become even more complicated as the scandal unfolds. Global Affairs Canada did not confirm to the National Post whether McIver was the detained person, citing privacy concerns.

President Donald Trump told Reuters last week that he would personally intervene in the Meng case if it would benefit US national security or help close a trade deal with China.

Third Canadian reportedly detained by Chinese authorities
Chinese authorities arrest third Canadian

Marty Kady, the editor of Politico Pro, pointed out that Meng's detention was the "equivalent of an Apple or Facebook exec being arrested in China".

On December 1, Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of China's largest private company, Huawei, and the daughter of Ren Zhengfei, the founder of Huawei, was arrested in Canada.

The latest detention comes after Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of tech giant Huawei, was arrested in Vancouver on December 1 at the request of the United States, where she is wanted on fraud allegations. Not much is known about the conditions of Kovrig and Spavor's detention, other than both of them received consular access as of Sunday.

But Beijing-based Western diplomats and former Canadian diplomats have said they believed the detentions were a "tit-for-tat" reprisal by China. She spent this past summer back in Alberta working at a Red Deer furniture store where she had previously worked for a couple years, before packing up again - this time for China, according to a store manager. "Two is awful. Three underlines how ruthless China can be", he said.

Meng was released on bail last week in Vancouver pending a USA extradition hearing on U.S. fraud charges related to sanctions-breaking business dealings with Iran.

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.

China has demanded Meng's immediate release and summoned in the Canadian and USA ambassadors to complain about the case.

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