A third Canadian has been detained in China following the arrest in Vancouver of a top executive of a Chinese telecommunications company.
Consular assistance is being provided to all three, and their families, officials from Global Affairs say.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he did not believe the detention of the third Canadian in China is linked to two previous detentions.
“The first indications are that this is a very separate case compared to the two others that occurred,” Trudeau told journalists at his year-end news conference.
The prime minister said: “The others that were arrested at the start of the week were accused of serious crimes, problems regarding national security, intelligence.”
“The third case doesn’t appear, at this point, and of course we only have the preliminary indications that it’s not linked to a matter of national security for the Chinese,” according to Trudeau.
Earlier in December, China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig, and entrepreneur Michael Spavor.
The Chinese government has said they are suspected of endangering China’s state security.
Chinese officials usually detain people for questioning before officially arresting or charging them. The process can take up to six months.
This followed the December 1 arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of tech giant Huawei Technologies, in Vancouver at the request of the United States.
Meng was arrested over allegations of fraud.
China has repeatedly called for Canada to correct its mistake and to release Meng or face unspecified consequences.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada confirmed to CTV News they were “aware of a Canadian citizen detained in China”.
The government spokesperson said they could not provide further information on the case citing privacy concerns.
China has now granted Canada access to both Spavor and Kovrig.
Global Affairs Canada said John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Kovrig and Spavor on separate days.
Meng has been released on a $10-million bail in Vancouver. She is due back in court in February.
During his year-ender news conference, the prime minister was grilled by journalists on worsening relations with China.
“We have engaged in a very thoughtful way on trying to get the best outcome and sometimes politicizing or amplifying the level of public discourse on this may be satisfying in the short term, but would not contribute to the outcome we all want,” Trudeau said.