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Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, a Canadian citizen, will be put on trial by Northeast China's Liaoning Provincial High People's Court on drug smuggling charges, according to runsky, a website run by the Dalian Radio and Television Station, on Wednesday.

"Global Affairs can confirm that a Canadian citizen, who was detained in China this month, has been released and has now returned to Canada", spokesman Richard Walker said.

At the appeal hearing, prosecutors argued Schellenberg was likely to part of a global drugs smuggling operation.

Global Affairs Canada declined to provide any further information about McIver's return to Canada.

A Canadian citizen who was detained in China earlier this month amid frosty relations between the two countries has been released and returned to Canada, officials said.

Sarah McIver was detained due to a work permit issue related to her teaching job in China.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Canadians Michael Kovrig, right, and Michael Spavor were arrested for allegedly undermining Chinese "national security, ' while Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested 'illegally" in Canada for the U.S.

Neither China nor Canada has drawn a direct connection between the case of Ms Meng and the cases of the two other Canadians.

The maximum penalty for drug trafficking in China is death. The case threatens to add further strain to a tense diplomatic standoff between Beijing and Ottawa.

The aunt of a Canadian recently released from Chinese prison believes her niece was arrested because of an administrative error by her employer.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has confirmed that McIver's case does not appear to be linked to that of the other two detainees.

China executed a Briton caught smuggling heroin in 2009, prompting a British outcry over what it said was the lack of any mental health assessment.

Meng is out on bail pending an extradition hearing to the United States on charges of violating sanctions against Iran.

Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and prominent businessman Michael Spavor were also arrested in mid-December on suspicion of harming China's national security.


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