Canadian citizen detained in eastern China

Posted at 6:53 PM, Jul 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-13 21:24:09-04

A Canadian citizen has been detained in Yantai, a city in northeastern China, Global Affairs Canada confirmed to CNN.

A spokesman for the agency said Canadian officials are providing consular assistance to the Canadian citizen. The detention comes amid heightened tensions between Ottawa and Beijing over the ongoing detention of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who have been held since December and were formally arrested in May on national security grounds.

Kovrig and Spavor were detained following the arrest in Canada of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei.

Meng was taken into custody on December 1, 2018, in Vancouver on behalf of the United States on charges of working to evade Iran sanctions. She is currently awaiting trial.

Last month, China banned imports of all meat from Canada as relations between the two countries continued to worsen, claiming that customs documents had been forged by Canadian exporters.

There is currently no indication that the detention of the latest Canadian citizen — who officials would not name, citing privacy legislation — is related to the Kovrig and Spavor case.

The move comes after police in the eastern Chinese province of Jiangsu arrested over a dozen foreigners on suspicion of drug offenses. On Friday, the UK Foreign Office said four British citizens had been detained in Jiangsu.

Those arrests took place in Xuzhou, a city around 515 kilometers (320 miles) from Yantai.

CNN has reached out to authorities in Jiangsu for more information on the nationalities of those arrested.