China arrests third Canadian

A spokesperson with Global Affairs Canada told Canadian newspaper the National Post that a third Canadian citizen had been detained by Chinese authorities on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the cases don't appear to be linked, noting that tens of thousands of Canadians live, travel and work in China. "We are looking into the details on this most recent one that doesn't seem to fit the pattern of the previous two".

The last time Canadians were detained in China for security reasons was in 2014 when Kevin and Julia Garratt, who ran a coffee shop in northeastern China, were held near the border with North Korea.

She says Canadians who study or do business in China may want to "lie low and keep a low profile".

The recent detentions of Michael Kovrig, a Canadian former diplomat and Michael Spavor, a Canadian entrepreneur, have raised suspicion that Beijing is holding them in retaliation for Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou's December 1 arrest.

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

Michael Kovrig, left, and Michael Spavor are the two Canadians detained by Chinese authorities following the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Canada.

The Prime Minister's Office confirmed that the third detainee was working as a teacher in China and is a female. The National Post reported that she was teaching at a school in China when she was detained due to "visa complications", and that arrangements were being made for her return to Canada.

She is the third Canadian being held after the arrest in Vancouver of Weng Manzhou, chief financial officer of telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co., at the request of the USA, which wants her extradited on allegations related to sanctions against Iran. She is awaiting extradition proceedings in Canada as she is wanted for fraud by the USA.

"How we move in a thoughtful way that both protects that both protects Canadians and allows us to participate in the innovations that are moving towards the future is an extremely important decision that we will make and take with all responsibility and thoughtfulness", Trudeau said.

Mr Trudeau said on Wednesday that "we suspect the case is very different from the first two cases", referring to the circumstances surrounding Mr Kovrig and Mr Spavor's detention.

The participation of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei in building Canada's fifth generation wireless network will be decided following the advice of Canadian security and intelligence experts, not for reasons of political expediency, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.

But David Mulroney, a former ambassador to China, said it would be highly unusual if this is a coincidence. Australia and New Zealand have effectively banned Huawei from their grids, while the U.K and Germany are being pressed to follow suit over concerns the gear could be exploited by China's spy agencies. Meng was arrested at the request of the U.S., which has been engaged in a trade war with China.

The latter comment was a reference to Meng's extremely comfortable conditions after she was released on bail by a Canadian court.

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

Canadian officials have been granted consular access to both men.