Arrest of a Canadian teacher in China linked to administrative error

Canadian detained in China

A Canadian man convicted of drug trafficking in China faces the possibility of more serious charges after a court ordered a new trial amid tensions over Canada's arrest of a Chinese technology executive.

There has been speculation that Korvig and Spavor's detainment was done in retaliation by China over Canada's role in arresting Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, but the Canadian Government has not confirmed this.

At the appeal hearing, prosecutors said the sentence was too light and improper, arguing Schellenberg was very likely to have been part of a global drugs smuggling operation and had played a major role in smuggling the drugs.

One of three Canadians detained in China has been released and is back home. It ordered the court in the city of Dalian to try the case again.

Schellenberg's trial comes amid reports in worldwide media that another Canadian, Sarah McIver - who was taken into "administrative detention" for "working illegally" in China - has been released and has returned to Canada.

China exercises a zero-tolerance policy towards drug trafficking, and has handed death sentences to foreigners found guilty of smuggling large quantities of illicit drugs.

According to the Liaoning High People's Court, officials from the Canadian embassy in China attended Schellenberg's hearing, as well as reporters from foreign media.

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Drugs offences are usually punished severely in China.

Chinese Foreign Ministry had confirmed last week that a local public security authority imposed an "administrative penalty" on McIver for "illegal employment".

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

China's Foreign Ministry said in a statement sent to Reuters that it was aware of reports McIver had been released, and referred further questions to the "relevant authority".

Both China and Canada have insisted McIver's case was different from Kovrig's and Spavor's.

Meng is sought by the U.S. for allegedly lying to banks as part of an effort to evade sanctions on Iran.

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