Canadian woman detained in China has returned home

Sarah McIver, a Canadian teacher who was detained in China earlier this month, has returned to Canada, Global Affairs Canada says.

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

For privacy reasons, the department said no further information could be disclosed. 

Earlier this month, the Alberta woman became the third Canadian detained in China in recent weeks over a work-permit issue related to her teaching job. She had been sentenced to administrative punishment for illegal employment, according to a spokesperson for the Chinese government.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has previously said that McIver’s case did not appear to be related to the detention of two other Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

Tensions have been high between Canada and China since the Dec. 1 arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei.

Canada made the arrest at the Vancouver International Airport at the request of the U.S. officials, who accuse her of violating trade sanctions on Iran. Meng has since been released on bail pending extradition proceedings.

Not long after the tech executive’s arrest, Chinese officials confirmed the two Canadian men had been detained separately in China on national security concerns. 

Kovrig is a former Canadian diplomat currently on leave from Global Affairs as he serves as an adviser to the International Crisis Group think-tank, while Spavor is a businessman who arranges tours of North Korea.

Canada and its allies have been pushing back against the detentions, with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland saying last week that the government is “deeply concerned” by the “arbitrary detention” of the two men.