China Releases Canadian Teacher Detained for Job Violation

Jan 01, 2019, 02:09
China Releases Canadian Teacher Detained for Job Violation

Drug offences are routinely punished severely in China.

Further testing tense relations, another Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, was due to appear before a court in China on drugs charges.

Sarah McIver, an English teacher from Alberta, was arrested by the Chinese authorities over alleged work-permit violations.

The appellate court ruled that the jail sentence handed down by the lower court was "obviously inappropriate" because Schellenberg is accused of "playing an important role" in what may be an global drug smuggling ring, the court's announcement said.

The court ordered the case to return to the trial court, but a retrial date has not been set yet.

It's not clear yet who is representing Schellenberg or when the retrial may take place.

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A Chinese government news portal, runsky.com, identified Schellenberg as Canadian and said he was accused of smuggling an "enormous amount" of drugs.

Canada's government said this week it had been following the case for several years and providing consular assistance, but could provide no other details, citing privacy concerns.

Schellenberg is the first foreigner to be tried in China on drug-smuggling charges in nine years.

In 2009 China executed a Briton caught smuggling heroin, prompting an outcry back in the United Kingdom.

"Global Affairs can confirm that a Canadian citizen, who was detained in China this month, has been released and has now returned to Canada".

The spokesman did not specify when the Canadian was released or returned to Canada.

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A court in China has ordered a retrial for a Canadian man who was sentenced last month after being found guilty on drug-smuggling charge - potentially adding more pressure to the fraught Canada-China relationship.

Asked about the Canadian's detention at a press conference Thursday, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she was "not aware of the specifics of the case".

A Canadian teacher arrested in China for administrative reasons - a case officially unrelated to the ongoing diplomatic row between Beijing and Ottawa - has been freed, authorities said Friday.

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. It is not known where the two are being held. It did not elaborate.

China also sentenced a Filipina drug trafficker to death in 2013, according to the Philippine foreign department, ignoring Manila's request to spare her life.

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