China says Canadian woman worked illegally

Third Canadian reportedly detained by Chinese authorities

The prime minister wouldn't say at what point his government would issue a warning against Canadians travelling to China, instead saying Global Affairs Canada will continue its "ongoing reflections" on doing so.

A source with direct knowledge of the situation said senior officials at the Canadian Foreign Ministry had held many meetings about the detainees but that a formal task force had yet to be created.

Days later, two Canadians were detained in Beijing for allegedly endangering China's national security.

Canadian lawmaker Erin O'Toole said that the case involved visa irregularities for an Alberta woman who had been teaching in China.

Entrepreneur Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat on a leave of absence from Global Affairs, both remain in custody.

"With three Canadians being detained multinationals will now have to start to consider or discuss internally if their duty of care to their staff means they need to be more careful with staff being posted to China", he said. "I now understand that it's always a lot more complicated than that", he said.

Maegen Graveline said the government is in contact with the family of the arrested person, but cited the Canadian Privacy Act and released no further details.

A spokesperson for Canada's foreign ministry confirmed the detention, but declined to offer further details other than that they are providing assistance to the family, The Globe and Mail reported.

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Pressed by public broadcaster Radio-Canada why he had not personally intervened in the cases by calling China's President Xi Jinping, he said on Tuesday: "In worldwide politics, it is always better to proceed by degrees".

This TV image provided by CTV to AFP shows Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou as she exits the court registry following the bail hearing at British Columbia Superior Courts in Vancouver, British Columbia, Dec. 11, 2018.

China has denied that the detention of Mr Kovrig and Mr Spavor is tied to Ms Meng's arrest, but many analysts believe it was a tit-for-tat action. Both Kovrig and Spavor are accused of endangering the state security by Beijing.

Global Affairs Canada said that as of Thursday morning, officials still had not had consular access to McIver.

But David Mulroney, a former ambassador to China, said it would be highly unusual if this is a coincidence.

Philip Calvert, a former diplomat in China and now a research fellow at the University of Victoria, said at least the first two detentions were indicative of "the way China often engages internationally in situations like this". Law-enforcement officials allege that she lied to US banks about a corporate structure devised to get around sanctions against Iran.

"Canadians will be expecting further retaliation if, in fact, they transport Ms. Meng to the United States and into the hands of US authorities", Amanda DeBusk of the global trade law firm Dechert told CNBC. On December 14, Wanzhou was released on bail; the stir her arrest has created is larger than one could have anticipated and according to CNBC, "it immediately hit USA stocks and sent global markets into a tailspin".

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