Canada again demands that China release two of its citizens

Arrests fuel anxieties among China Canadian expats

"We are deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of two Canadians earlier this month and call for their immediate release", Freeland said in a written statement.

The two were detained after Canada arrested chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei in Vancouver.

Michael Kovrig, one of two Canadians being detained in China, is being kept in a cell with the lights on 24 hours a day, according to a person familiar with his situation, in what is being seen as an act of Chinese retaliation against Canada for the arrest of an influential executive.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement the UK is confident that Canada is respecting its extradition treaty with the U.S. and said he is "deeply concerned" that China may have detained the two Canadians for political reasons.

Washington accused Meng, who is also the daughter of Huawei's founder and chief executive Ren Zhengfei, of lying to US financial institutions and using a shell company to do business with Iran in violation of USA sanctions.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who was making a surprise visit to Canadian troops deployed in Mali, also weighed in, saying that: "We are impressing upon the Chinese how it is important that they release the detainees".

But Beijing-based Western diplomats and former Canadian diplomats have said they believed the detentions were a "tit-for-tat" reprisal by China.

Like a number of Canadian expats, she is using the holidays as an excuse to stay out of the country.

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The United States, United Kingdom and European Union have expressed their support for Canada, but some countries are yet to comment publicly. Meng, after a process attended by lawyers, has been released on bail, pending further proceedings, and is reportedly residing at her luxury home in Vancouver.

The Canadian province of British Columbia said in a statement Sunday it cancelled a trade mission to China because of Meng's detention.

Chinese netizens have flooded the account of the Canadian Embassy in China on China's Twitter-like Weibo since last week, criticizing Canada for losing sovereignty and becoming a puppet of the US.

"It's my view that it shouldn't really have much of an impact", he said.

Michael Kovrig, a diplomat on leave from his post in Hong Kong, and Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur who helped organize tourist trips to North Korea, were seized nine days after Huawei's Meng was taken into custody.

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, left, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaks to reporters during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. "This is clearly a hard moment in our relationship with China and it's important to keep on talking and raising issues directly with them as we are doing".

With the situation now in its third week, Canada's allies have stepped into the breach.

No country, including the United States, spoke out publicly in support of Canada, and the Trump administration has been steadfast in its support for Saudi Arabia.

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