China releases detained Canadian teacher Sarah McIver

01 January, 2019, 10:16 | Author: Rachel Logan
  • China releases Canadian woman

Canadian convicted of drug trafficking in China faces the possibility of more serious charges after a court on Saturday ordered a new trial amid tensions over Canada's arrest of a Chinese technology executive.

The case is the latest to test relations between Ottawa and Beijing following the detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou earlier this month in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Since her arrest, multiple Canadian citizens have been detained in China, even as both governments refused to link the cases.

The high court in the city of Dalian in the northeastern province of Liaoning will hear the appeal of Robert Lloyd Schellenberg at 2pm local time, it said in a statement this week.

McIver was the third Canadian to be detained by China following the December 1 arrest in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, but a Canadian official said there was no reason to believe that the woman's detention was linked to the earlier arrests.

The court said it accepted this argument and ordered a retrial.

Four other Japanese were executed in China in 2010 for drugs offences.

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The spokesman did not specify when the Canadian was released or returned to Canada.

According to the Liaoning High People's Court, officials from the Canadian embassy in China attended Schellenberg's hearing, as well as reporters from foreign media.

On December 20th, China's foreign ministry announced that the woman was undergoing "administrative punishment" for working in the country illegally.

She is wanted in the United States on allegations she lied to American banks as part of an effort to get around sanctions on Iran.

China exercises a zero-tolerance policy towards drug trafficking, and has handed death sentences to foreigners found guilty of smuggling large quantities of illicit drugs.

Canada's government said this week it had been following the case for several years and providing consular assistance, but could provide no other details, citing privacy concerns.

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