A Canadian man convicted of drug trafficking in China faces the possibility of more serious charges after a court ordered a new trial amid tensions over Canada's arrest of a Chinese technology executive.
The decision comes as Beijing and Ottawa remain embroiled in a diplomatic row triggered by Canada's early December arrest of a senior executive from Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei.
The two countries are in diplomatic dire straits after China detained two Canadians - former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and China-based businessman Michael Spavor - whom they accuse of engaging in activities that "endanger China's security".
Evidence showed it was possible he played an "important role", said the announcement by the Higher People's Court of the northeastern province of Liaoning. The court ordered the case to return to the trial court, but a retrial date has not been set yet.
When McIver arrived in China, the school she was supposed to teach at no longer had work for her, so Chinese authorities gave her a job somewhere else, according to Rhona.
Drugs offences are routinely punished severely in China.
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McIver was the third Canadian to be detained by China following the December 1 arrest in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, but a Canadian official said there was no reason to believe that the woman's detention was linked to the earlier arrests.
Meng was arrested at the request of United States prosecutors and faces extradition on charges of violating sanctions on Iran.
McIver, who was detained and sentenced to administrative punishment for illegal employment, was teaching English at a school somewhere in China (the exact region she was working in has not been made public).
Neither China nor Canada has drawn a direct connection between the Meng case and the cases of the two other Canadians.
The last foreigner to be tried for drug smuggling was British national Akmal Shaikh, who was caught in 2007 while smuggling over 4 kilograms of heroin into China.
Canada's government has said it has been following the case for several years and providing consular assistance, but could provide no other details citing privacy concerns.