OTTAWA -- Since Canada arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in early December, 13 Canadians have been detained in China.
According to a statement from Global Affairs Canada, in the last month there have been 10 more Canadians detained in addition to the three detentions that had been publicly known: Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor and Sarah McIver.
Of the 13 Canadians detained, Global Affairs said “at least eight” have been released.
Among these is McIvor, who was teaching English in China. Canada continues to call for the immediate release of former diplomat Kovrig and entrepreneur Spavor, but until now had made no mention of any other Canadians being in similar positions in the Asian country.
“We are deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of two Canadians last month,” said Adam Austen, a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland in a statement earlier Thursday.
Canada’s arrest of Meng was on the request of the United States, and angered the Chinese government, who vowed to retaliate.
The federal government has yet to update its travel advisory for Canadians heading to, or who are already in China, though the current instruction is to “exercise a high degree of caution.”
On Thursday the United States issued an updated security statement, advising its citizens “to “exercise increased caution in China due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws as well as special restrictions on dual U.S.-Chinese nationals.”
Global Affairs says that an estimated 200 Canadians overall have been detained in China “for a variety of alleged infractions.” That number has remained “relatively stable” despite the recent high-profile arrests of Spavor and Kovrig.