China Confirms Arrest of Canadian

China confirmed Monday the arrest of a Canadian national in a narcotics case, when relations between Beijing and Ottawa are extremely tense.

“The Public Security Bureau of Shandong Province (East) recently uncovered a drug case involving foreign students. One of the people is a Canadian citizen, “said Geng Shuang, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The case is currently under investigation,” Geng said at a regular press conference. He explained that a “consular notification was sent immediately to the embassies of the countries concerned”.

The Canadian Foreign Ministry announced Sunday the arrest of a Canadian in China in the city of Yantai (east) without giving further details, highlighting the Canadian law on the protection of personal information.

The relations between Beijing and Ottawa are going through a period of tension since the arrest on December 1 in Vancouver, at the American request, of the financial director of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, Meng Wanzhou.

Since then, the Chinese authorities have arrested former diplomat Michael Kovrig and fellow consultant Michael Spavor, a specialist in North Korea. The first is believed to have collected state secrets and the second to have stolen them.

Both of these detentions are considered arbitrary by Ottawa and are generally considered to be reprisals by Beijing.

Chinese justice has also sentenced two other Canadians to death for drug trafficking and China has blocked imports of Canadian agricultural products.

On Wednesday, another police-led drug operation in east China’s Jiangsu Province led to the arrest of 19 language-related individuals, including four Britons.

But this case “has no connection” with that involving the Canadian citizen arrested in Shandong, said Monday Geng Shuang.

China has a zero-tolerance policy towards drug users. And narcotics trafficking is often punished with the death penalty.