Chinese court sentences Canadian to death for making drugs

A Chinese court on Thursday sentenced a Canadian citizen to death for producing drugs, the third Canadian to be given the capital punishment since Ottawa detained a top executive of the Chinese company, Huawei, in 2018.

The Canadian identified as Xu Weihong was sentenced to death for manufacturing ketamine, a tranquilising drug for humans and animals, on Thursday at a first trial in the southern city of Guangzhou, the Guangzhou Intermediate Court said.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at the regular ministry briefing on Thursday that drug crimes were very serious and everyone was equal before the law.

“China’s relevant authorities handled the case independently according to law. I don’t think it should have any effect on China-Canada relations,” Wang said when asked to share details about the case.

A Chinese national, Wen Guanxiong, was also charged with making drugs in the same case; he was jailed for life.

The latest conviction of a Canadian comes at a time when ties between China and Canada are strained over the case of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms equipment giant Huawei Technologies, who was arrested in the Canadian city of Vancouver in late 2018, on a warrant from the US.

Beijing has said that the US and Canada have abused their bilateral extradition treaty to arbitrarily take compulsory measures against a Chinese citizen without cause.

“This is a serious political incident that grossly violates the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese citizen,” the Chinese foreign ministry had said earlier.

In January 2019, a Canadian citizen Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was given the death sentence in the north-eastern city of Dalian after the judge had changed his original 15-year jail sentence.

Schellenberg, then 36, was detained in 2014 on suspicion of smuggling crystal meth from China to Australia.

Three months later, in April 2019, Fan Wei, another Canadian was sentenced to death in the southern city of Jiangmen.

Beijing has also formally charged two Canadians, ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor, with spying since the diplomatic hostilities began.

China has denied that their arrest is linked to Meng’s case.

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