Beijing confirmed on Thursday that Canadian Sarah McIver is detained in China over alleged issues of illegal employment.

News of McIver’s detention came days after China’s detention of Canadian citizen Michael Spavor and ex-Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig. It also follows the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Canada on December 1.

Hua Chunying. File photo: CGTN screenshot, via YouTube.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a regular press conference on Thursday that McIver’s case was different from that of Spavor and Kovrig.

McIver’s case did not relate to national security and her detention was an “administrative penalty,” Hua said.

Under Chinese law, administrative detention can be imposed for up to 15 days.

Canadian teacher Sarah McIver. Photo: Facebook.

Hua added that the Canadian government had been informed. The two countries have maintained “smooth communications” and the Chinese government will assist the Canadian consulate in its work, she said.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada told HKFP that it was aware of a Canadian citizen detained in China, and that consular officials were providing assistance to the family.

“There is no reason to believe that this case is linked to other recent cases of Canadians detained in China,” the spokesperson added.

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. File photo: Twitter.

According to the National Post in Canada, McIver worked as a teacher in China, and is expected to be sent back to Canada after a visa issue.

Tensions between China and Canada remain high over the arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou.

Meng faces US fraud charges of “conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions.”

She was arrested in Vancouver while transferring planes on a trip from Hong Kong to Mexico, at the request of US authorities seeking her extradition. She has since been released on bail pending a hearing in February next year.

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Holmes Chan

Holmes Chan is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. He covers local news with a focus on law, politics, and social movements. He studied law and literature at the University of Hong Kong.