China: Canadian sentenced to death for drug production

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BEIJING | A third Canadian has been sentenced to death in China in a drug case, amid growing diplomatic tensions for a year and a half between Ottawa and Beijing, a court said Thursday.

This Canadian national, identified in Mandarin as Xu Weihong, was tried at first instance for “drug production”, said the Canton Intermediate Court (south).

Asked about this, a spokesman for Chinese diplomacy, Wang Wenbin, stressed to the press that this affair “should not have consequences on relations between China and Canada”.

Relations between Beijing and Ottawa have been strained since the arrest in December 2018 in Vancouver – at the request of the Americans – of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei.

Accused by Washington of complicity in fraud to circumvent the sanctions against Iran, she is on probation in Canada, from where she risks extradition to the United States.

China immediately arrested two Canadians, still in detention: a former diplomat and a consultant, accused of “threatening national security.” Arrests that many foreign experts consider to be retaliatory measures.

In April 2019, a Chinese court sentenced a Canadian national identified as Fan Wei to death for drug trafficking.

In January of the same year, a court sentenced another Canadian, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, to death after a new trial demanded by justice, after a sentence of 15 years in prison at first instance.

Already convicted in the past in Canada of drug trafficking, Mr. Schellenberg proclaimed his innocence and claimed to have gone to China for tourism.

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