A Canadian citizen who was detained in China earlier this month has been released and is back in Canada according to Richard Walker, spokesman for Global Affairs Canada.
The citizen, Sarah McIver, was detained due to a work permit issue related to her teaching job, CNN affiliate CTV reported.
Global Affairs Canada declined to provide any further information about McIver’s return to Canada.
McIver was the third Canadian to be taken into custody in China. Her detention was confirmed by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on December 19, who said at the time that the detention was more “routine” than the previous two cases.
He denied the detention was linked to Canada’s arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.
Last week, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said McIver had received an “administrative penalty (for) illegal employment.” Hua also added that the teacher’s situation was different from the two other Canadian detainees.
“The previous two have been put under compulsory measures by state security on suspicion of endangering China’s national security. This person was given administrative penalty,” she said.
Previously, Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were detained on “activities that endangered China’s national security,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang had said. Spavor and Kovrig’s detentions were seen by many as retaliation for Meng’s arrest.
There has been no official confirmation the detentions were linked to Meng’s case but the Chinese government has made clear its anger at her arrest, with numerous furious editorials in state-run media.
CNN’s Marlena Baldacci and Chenelle Terry wrote from Atlanta, Lily Lee reported from Beijing and Paula Newton reported from Ottawa.