Third Canadian Held in China as Officials Downplay Huawei Link

(Bloomberg) -- Canadian officials have learned of another national held in China, though they are downplaying any links between this case and the detentions of two others earlier this month.

A Canadian government official who spoke on condition of anonymity said without elaborating there’s no reason to believe there’s a connection between the latest report, and the detentions by China’s spy agency of a former diplomat and an entrepreneur who helped organize tourist trips to North Korea.

The three cases follow Canada’s arrest earlier this month of Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou as part of a U.S.-led extradition bid, though Beijing has deflected questions about any link between the detained Canadians and the Chinese executive’s case. Meng is free on bail awaiting her next hearing.

“Consular officials are providing assistance to the family. Due to the provisions under the Privacy Act, no further information can be disclosed,” Maegan Graveline, a spokeswoman with Global Affairs Canada, said in an email Wednesday, referring to the latest case, which was first reported by The National Post newspaper.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular briefing in Beijing on Wednesday that she wasn’t aware of the report of a third detained Canadian. A faxed request for comment sent to the Ministry of Public Security wasn’t immediately answered.

The moves will likely heighten anxiety among Canadians in China, and have prompted people on both sides to reconsider travel. The national Canadian body that markets China as a tourist destination is halting new advertisements there, CBC News reported Wednesday.

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