Chinese police have detained a Canadian citizen in relation to a drug case involving foreign students, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
This latest arrest comes amid heightened tensions between the two countries. Beijing is furious with Ottawa over Canada’s arrest in December of a top Chinese telecom official upon a U.S. request and has in turn detained two Canadians on national security grounds.
“The Shandong Provincial Public Security Bureau recently seized a drug-related case involving foreign students,” said foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang at a press briefing.
“One of the people involved in the case is a Canadian citizen.”
Geng said the case was under investigation and the relevant embassies had been notified.
Officials with Global Affairs Canada said they are aware of the detention of a Canadian citizen in Yantai.
Canadian officials are providing consular assistance to the Canadian citizen, said Global Affairs spokesperson Barbara Harvey.
Due to the provisions of the Privacy Act, no further information can be disclosed, she added.
The issue was nothing to do with another drug case involving foreigners in Jiangsu province, Geng said.
The British Embassy said last week that four British citizens had been arrested in Jiangsu.
Relations between China and Canada nosedived last December after police in Vancouver detained Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, on a U.S. arrest warrant. Meng was released on bail is awaiting extradition proceedings in Vancouver.
China is demanding her immediate and unconditional return.
Days after Meng’s arrest, Beijing detained two Canadians – former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor – accusing them of involvement in stealing state secrets. The men have been in custody ever since.
Canadian officials familiar with the case say they don’t believe the latest arrest is related to the arrests of Kovrig and Spavor.
With files from The Associated Press