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Four Britons arrested in China days after drug bust involving foreigners Four Britons arrested in China days after drug bust involving foreigners
(32 minutes later)
Four Britons have been arrested in China, the British embassy said, two days after Chinese police announced a drug bust there involving 16 foreigners.Four Britons have been arrested in China, the British embassy said, two days after Chinese police announced a drug bust there involving 16 foreigners.
Police in the city of Xuzhou in the eastern province of Jiangsu said on Wednesday that a total of 19 people were arrested in a drugs case centring on a local branch of a language school.Police in the city of Xuzhou in the eastern province of Jiangsu said on Wednesday that a total of 19 people were arrested in a drugs case centring on a local branch of a language school.
Those arrested included seven foreign teachers and nine foreign students, police said.Those arrested included seven foreign teachers and nine foreign students, police said.
Police gave no other details on specific nationalities or facts of the case.Police gave no other details on specific nationalities or facts of the case.
“We are in contact with the Chinese authorities following the arrest of four British people in Jiangsu province, and are providing consular assistance,” a spokeswoman for the British embassy in Beijing said.“We are in contact with the Chinese authorities following the arrest of four British people in Jiangsu province, and are providing consular assistance,” a spokeswoman for the British embassy in Beijing said.
She said the embassy could not confirm whether the arrests were related to the drugs case.She said the embassy could not confirm whether the arrests were related to the drugs case.
Relations between the UK and China have become strained in recent weeks in the wake of British calls for Beijing to honour its commitment to free speech in Hong Kong in the face of massive street protests in the city.
Education First, a Swiss-based company which operates a chain of language schools in China, released a statement this week acknowledging a suspected drug case at one of its branches in Xuzhou.Education First, a Swiss-based company which operates a chain of language schools in China, released a statement this week acknowledging a suspected drug case at one of its branches in Xuzhou.
It said the company was cooperating with police on the investigation and that employees found to be involved in wrongdoing would be dismissed.It said the company was cooperating with police on the investigation and that employees found to be involved in wrongdoing would be dismissed.
Drug convictions can attract long prison sentences in China, or the death penalty in cases of trafficking.Drug convictions can attract long prison sentences in China, or the death penalty in cases of trafficking.
China has already sentenced two Canadians to death on drug trafficking charges this year, as a diplomatic dispute with Ottawa rages.China has already sentenced two Canadians to death on drug trafficking charges this year, as a diplomatic dispute with Ottawa rages.
Beijing is furious over the Vancouver arrest of a top executive from telecom giant Huawei on a US extradition request related to Iran sanctions violations.Beijing is furious over the Vancouver arrest of a top executive from telecom giant Huawei on a US extradition request related to Iran sanctions violations.
The Canadian drug sentences have sparked questions over whether they were in retaliation for the Huawei arrest.The Canadian drug sentences have sparked questions over whether they were in retaliation for the Huawei arrest.
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