A Canadian citizen is being detained in Yantai, in north eastern China and Canadian officials are giving him consular assistance as far as possible. This detention comes in the wake of tensions rising between Ottawa and Beijing, over the detention of other Canadian citizens – Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor – who were detained in December and were only formally arrested in May on grounds of national security.
The two were detained after Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the Chinese tech giant Huawei was arrested in Canada. Meng was taken into custody beginning December, 2018, on behalf of the US, on alleged charges of working towards evasion of Iranian sanctions. She now awaits trial for the same.
In light of these incidents, China has also banned imports of meat from Canada, claiming that custom document forgery on the part of Canadian exporters has sparked it. No indication has been made by the Chinese government that the arrest of the latest Canadian citizen has anything to do with the arrest of Spavor and Kovrig.
These arrests are not isolated. China continues its forage into human rights violations as dozens of foreigners were arrested over alleged drug offenses in the Chinese province of Jiangsu. On Friday, the UK Foreign Office also learned that four British citizens faced the same fate as their Canadian counterpart in Jiangsu.
The British nationals were arrested in Xuzhou, which lies 515km from Yantai. The authorities making these arrests were reached out to, but no response was received regarding the basis or reason for the arrests, or the nationalities of those arrested.