Chinese court orders retrial for Canadian in drug case

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The case is likely not linked to the detention of two other Canadian nationals, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were accused of threatening China's national security, the report said.

The Chinese newspaper explained that the trafficking of drugs is a felony in China, especially when the amount is enormous.

A Canadian citizen detained in China earlier in December has been released and returned to Canada, according to the government in Ottawa.

A Canadian teacher was detained but released.

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Both China and Canada have said that McIver's case is different from Kovrig's and Spavor's. The case threatens to add further strain to a tense diplomatic standoff between Beijing and Ottawa.

Ms. McIver's arrest was treated by Canadian and Chinese authorities as a routine matter - unlike the arrests of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor this month on suspicion of "engaging in activities that endanger" China's national security, according to Beijing.

The high court in Liaoning, which heard Robert Lloyd Schellenberg's appeal Saturday, said in a statement that a previous ruling in November, which sentenced him to 15 years in jail and a 150,000 yuan ($21,800) forfeiture, was "obviously inappropriate" given the severity of his crimes.

The detentions came amid a dispute between Canada and China following the arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou earlier this month.

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"Due to the provisions under the Privacy Act, no further information can be disclosed", he said.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying has treated McIver's case much more briskly when it's come up in the ministry's daily news conferences.

The Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland did not mention the woman in calling for the release of the other two Canadians last week.

She has denied the accusations, which have not been tested in court, and has been released on bail in Vancouver.

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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. "This person was given administrative penalty", she said.

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