China Releases Detained Canadian Teacher

Flags of China and Canada blowing in the wind. Part of a series

The decision comes as Beijing and Ottawa remain embroiled in a diplomatic row triggered by Canada's early December arrest of a senior executive from Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.

An appeals court agreed with prosecutors who said Schellenberg was punished too leniently when he was sentenced to 15 years in prison on charges of being an accessory to drug smuggling.

A spokesperson for the government of Canada confirmed Friday a Canadian national had been arrested in China earlier this month, but was freed and returned home.

The Higher People's Court of the northeastern province of Liaoning says evidence showed it was possible Schellenberg played an "important role" as it ordered the court in the city of Dalian to try the case again.

She was the third Canadian to be detained by China since the December 1st arrest of Meng. The court ordered the case to return to the trial court, but a retrial date has not been set yet.

Schellenberg's trial comes amid reports in global media that another Canadian, Sarah McIver - who was taken into "administrative detention" for "working illegally" in China - has been released and has returned to Canada.

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Four other Japanese were executed in China in 2010 for drugs offences. It added that Canadian diplomats were in court for the appeal.

Canada's government said this week it had been following the case for several years and providing consular assistance, but could provide no other details, citing privacy concerns.

According to previous reporting from Global News, McIver received an administrative penalty for illegal employment, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing.

Meng is sought by the U.S. for allegedly lying to banks as part of an effort to evade sanctions on Iran.

China exercises a zero-tolerance policy towards drug trafficking, and has handed death sentences to foreigners found guilty of smuggling large quantities of illicit drugs.

Both China and Canada had said McIver's case differed from those of Kovrig and Spavor.

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