Chinese court orders new trial for Canadian in drug trafficking case

Alberta teacher Sarah McIver returned to Canada after arrest in China

China releases Canadian teacher but others still held in Huawei row

Chinese Foreign Ministry responded that China's justice department treats foreign drug traffickers equally and punishes them according to the law; the facts regarding the female drug trafficker have been proven and the amount of trafficked drugs is huge.

In a statement Saturday, the Canadian government said it has been following the case.

Many observers believe the detentions of the two Canadians were in response to Canada's arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

Sarah McIver was arrested earlier this month because of a complication with her work visa.

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

Since then, China has arrested Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor on charges of endangering national security in apparent retaliation.

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In 2009, China executed a Briton, Akmal Shaikh, on charges of smuggling heroin despite his supporters' protest that he was mentally ill.

Asked about the Canadian's detention at a press conference Thursday, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying said she was "not aware of the specifics of the case".

Richard Walker, a spokesman for Global Affairs Canada, said Friday that McIver "was released and has now returned to Canada". It is not known where the two are being held.

China has demanded Canada free Meng, who is fighting extradition to the United States, where she would face fraud charges that carry a maximum sentence of 30 years jail for each charge.

Until the appeal hearing, it was unclear when Schellenberg had originally been convicted or what his sentence was, but on Saturday the court provided details of the first trial verdict from November.

Both China and Canada say the McIver case has nothing to do with the other arrests. Meng has said she is innocent.

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