China, Canada in talks on 3rd detainee’s return


BEIJING • Canada was in discussions with China over the return of a third Canadian national detained in recent days, the National Post reported, a move that could ease one source of tension in the diplomatic feud between the two nations.

The third Canadian has been identified as Sarah McIver from Alberta and was believed to have been taken into custody over visa issues related to her teaching in China, the newspaper reported late on Wednesday, citing multiple sources it didn’t identify. Arrangements were being made for her return, the paper said, noting that diplomatic officials said the case remains unresolved.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said yesterday in Beijing that the third Canadian had been detained over illegal work. She noted that the case was being handled by public security authorities — rather than the national security involved in cases against the other two Canadians.

“China will provide cooperation and assistance for the Canadian side to conduct consular activities,” Hua said. “Consular officials are providing assistance to the family,” Maegan Graveline, a spokeswoman for Global Affairs Canada, said earlier on Wednesday, referring to the latest case.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also played down links between the third case and those of two Canadians detained by China’s spy agency on Dec 10, saying it didn’t fit the same pattern.