13 CANADIANS DETAINED IN CHINA

Canada has said 13 of its citizens have been detained in China since the Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested in December in Vancouver at the request of the US.

“At least” eight of those 13 have since been released, a Canadian government statement said, without disclosing what charges if any had been laid.

Prior to the January 3rd statement, detention of only three Canadian citizens had been publicly disclosed. Diplomatic tensions between Canada and China have escalated since Meng’s arrest on 1 December.

The Canadian government has said several times it sees no explicit link between the arrest of Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, and the detentions of Canadian citizens. But Beijing- based western diplomats and former Canadian diplomats have said they believe the detentions were a “tit-for-tat” reprisal by China.

Meng was released on a C$10m ($7.4m) bail on 11 December and is living in one of her two Vancouver homes as she fights extradition to the US. The 46-year-old executive must wear an ankle monitor and stay at home from 11pm to 6am.

The 13 Canadians detained included Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor and Sarah McIver, a Canadian government official said on Thursday.

McIver, a teacher, has been released and returned to Canada. Kovrig and Spavor remain in custody. Canadian consular officials saw them once each in mid-December.

Overall there are about 200 Canadians who have been detained in China for a variety of alleged infractions and continue to face on-going legal proceedings. “This number has remained relatively stable,” the official said.

In comparison there are almost 900 Canadians in a similar situation in the United States, the official said.

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