The third Canadian recently detained in China has been identified as a teacher from Alberta who was held over visa issues, according to a member of Parliament.
Conservative MP Erin O’Toole said in an interview with The Canadian Press that the woman had been teaching in the country for months and did not previously have problems with her visa.
O’Toole said that he didn’t know if the woman was still in the custody as of late Wednesday afternoon.
Global Affairs Canada confirmed earlier on Wednesday that a third Canadian has been detained, but their identity hasn’t been disclosed because of the privacy act, officials said.
News of the detainment comes more than a week after two other Canadians were taken into custody on Dec. 10.
Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a businessman who worked on the border of China and North Korea, have met with Canadian ambassador to China John McCallum.
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.
Officials said there is no reason to believe the new detainment is linked to the former detainments.
WATCH: Trudeau explains why detainment of 3rd Canadian by China is different
The National Post was the first to report the arrest. It said third-party sources suggest the person is neither a diplomat, nor a businessperson.
Consular assistance is being provided to all three, and their families, officials from Global Affairs say.
The arrests come after Chinese businesswoman Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada with the possibility of extradition to the U.S.
Canadian officials say there is no explicit link between Meng’s arrest and the Canadians’ detention. But former diplomats and policy experts have said the detentions are a form of “tit-for-tat” reprisal by China.
China has repeatedly called for Canada to correct its mistake and to release Meng or face unspecified consequences.
But Canada says Meng’s arrest isn’t political and that it must follow the rule of law.
WATCH: China escalates criticism of Canada’s fidelity to rule of law
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there’s no reason yet to believe the case is linked to the recent arrests of two other Canadians in the country.
Trudeau said Wednesday that the latest case, so far, doesn’t involve serious allegations related to China’s national security.
“These are two very different situations,” Trudeau told a news conference in Ottawa. “There are tens of thousands of Canadians who live, travel, work in China in any given year – there are obviously regular situations where Canadians require consular assistance.”
He added that the government is taking the most recent case seriously and that it’s looking into details that don’t “seem to fit the pattern of the previous two.” He raised visa issues as the sort of thing that might draw Chinese authorities’ attention.
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Last week, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer demanded Trudeau send a “very high-level message” to China and denounce any repercussions on Canadians abroad.
Trudeau told reporters Wednesday that he’s holding off on publicly demanding Spavor’s and Kovrig’s release because that could be counterproductive.
He conceded that now that he’s in power, things look different from the way they did before he became prime minister.
“Every case is different. It requires a complex approach that is a combination of multiple different elements,” Trudeau said.
“I remember standing in the House and challenging (Stephen) Harper to ‘pick up the phone and get this Canadian released.’ I now understand that it’s a lot more complicated than that â€¦ 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 that we all want, which is for Canadians to be safe and secure.”
In a recent interview with The Canadian Press, Trudeau said it’s often best to let diplomats speak to diplomats and ministers speak to ministers, and keep leader-to-leader talks as a last resort.
O’Toole challenged the go-slow approach.
“You don’t wait as if the call is some trump card after 10 detentions or something,” he said.
*with files from The Canadian Press and Reuters