China court sentences Canadian to death as diplomatic row deepens

China court sentences Canadian to death as diplomatic row deepens

China court sentences Canadian to death as diplomatic row deepens

Monday's death sentence for Canadian Robert Schellenberg for smuggling 222 kg of methamphetamines became the latest strain on ties.

"I will say that it is of extreme concern to us as a government, as it should be to all our worldwide friends and allies, that China has chosen to begin to arbitrarily apply the death penalty, as in this case, facing a Canadian", he told reporters on Monday.

"We urge the Canadian side to respect the rule of law, respect China's legal sovereignty, correct its mistakes, and stop making irresponsible remarks", Hua said.

While it's unclear whether the sentence was implemented in response to the recent riff between the two countries, Trudeau suggested that China had arbitrarily applied the death sentence in this case.

The founder of Chinese tech giant Huawei is thanking Canada's justice system for the kind treatment of his daughter, the company's chief financial officer arrested last month in Vancouver on a USA warrant.

Asked to respond to the fact that Australia, among other countries, has backed Canada in criticizing China for arresting a former Canadian diplomat, Michael Kovrig, and a Canadian businessman Michael Spavor, Hua was dismissive.

Canada has asked China's ambassador to Canada for clemency, she said.

China denounced Canada on Tuesday for "irresponsible" remarks after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused it of "arbitrarily" sentencing a Canadian to death for drug smuggling, aggravating already icy relations.

The pair discussed the detention and legal treatment of Canadian citizens in China, as part of what appears to be a worldwide push by Trudeau to apply pressure on the People's Republic.

Taking Canada to task for issuing an updated travel advisory warning citizens about the risk of arbitrary enforcement of laws in China, Hua said Canada should instead remind its people to avoid drug smuggling.

A new trial was ordered in China's Liaoning province this week, where Schellenberg was found guilty once again and given a death sentence.

He had been originally sentenced to 15 years jail last November, but had appealed.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said China is "not anxious at all" about mounting worldwide support against the country's actions.

Trudeau has reportedly spoken by phone with New Zealand, another Five Eyes intelligence partner which has a strong trading relationship with China, about the detained men. The Chinese media began republicizing Schellenberg's case after Meng's detention.

Schellenberg plans to appeal, his lawyer Zhang Dongshuo told AFP.

But global rights groups condemned Schellenberg's sentence, with some saying it was too severe and may have been politically motivated.

China's justice system has been routinely condemned for its handling of capital punishment, with a 2008 Washington Post investigation finding it was notable for its "secrecy, lack of due process and uneven application of the law".

"Canada does not have any special cards that can allow Chinese law to bow its head to it", the newspaper said in an editorial on Wednesday.

Trudeau had also received support from other allies, including the United States, the European Union, France, Germany, Britain and Australia.

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