Sarah McIver returned to Canada after arrest in China

OTTAWA — Albertan Sarah McIver has been released from custody in China, Global Affairs Canada says.

McIver had been detained over a work-permit issue related to her teaching job.

The department didn’t say when McIver was released, or when she returned to Canada.

“Global Affairs can confirm that a Canadian citizen, who was detained in China this month, has been released and has now returned to Canada,” spokesman Richard Walker said Friday.

“Due to the provisions under the Privacy Act, no further information can be disclosed,” he said.

McIver’s arrest followed those of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians living and working in China, on allegations they were harming China’s national security.

China arrested Kovrig and Spavor separately after Canadian authorities detained a Chinese technology executive in Vancouver. Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of electronics giant Huawei Technologies, is wanted in the United States on allegations she lied to American banks as part of an effort to get around sanctions on Iran.

China and Canada insisted McIver’s case was different from Kovrig’s and Spavor’s.

Kovrig is a Canadian diplomat on leave from the foreign service to work with the anti-war International Crisis Group, travelling through China as a researcher and analyst.

Spavor has run an organization called the Paektu Cultural Exchange, promoting business and cultural ties with North Korea. He has met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and helped arrange retired basketball star Dennis Rodman’s visit to North Korea in 2014.

Chinese officials have not quite said that Kovrig and Spavor are in custody in retaliation for Meng’s arrest on the U.S. extradition request, but they have pointedly linked the cases — insisting at length that Meng’s arrest was illegal and an international affront, while Kovrig and Spavor have been detained properly under Chinese law.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying has treated McIver’s case much more briskly when it’s come up in the ministry’s daily news conferences.

“The competent Chinese authority will deal with it in accordance with the law,” Hua said in answer to one question about McIver last week, in an English transcript posted to the ministry’s website.

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