China sentences Canadian people to drug smuggling

The court in Dalian city, China. Photo: January 14, 2019image rights
Reuters

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The Canadian citizen was sentenced to death by a court in the northeastern city of Dalian

A court in China has sentenced a Canadian to death for drug smuggling, a verdict that could probably lead to a diplomatic row between the two countries.

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was originally sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2018. After appeal, the court said the sentence was too lenient.

This decision came shortly after Canada had arrested Meng Wanzhou, a high-ranking official of the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, at the request of the United States.

She was released on bail in December.

Ms. Meng, 46, is the daughter of Huawei's founder, and her detention has angered China and affected its relations with Canada and the United States.

China has since arrested two Canadian citizens and accused them of endangering national security.

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What is Schellenberg's case?

He was arrested in 2014 and charged with selling 200 grams of methamphetamine.

In November 2018, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. On Monday, a high court in the northeastern city of Dalian sentenced the Canadian national to death.

The court also ruled that all its financial assets must be confiscated.

"I'm not a drug smuggler, I came to China as a tourist," Schellenberg said shortly before the verdict was announced, AFP reports.

He has 10 days to appeal.

China has denied that it uses its legal system to take hostages as bargaining chip in Huawei's case.

But for some reason, China has suddenly worked hard to make Schellenberg's case known internationally, and taken the unusual step of inviting foreign journalists into the court, reports John Sudworth of the BBC in Beijing.

And although the Canadian insisted he was innocent, his trial lasted only one day, and his death sentence came less than an hour after graduation, our correspondent says.

What about Meng Wanzhou?

She was arrested in Vancouver on December 1, but was released bail by a Canadian court several days later.

A judge in the western city of Canada decided that she would be monitored 24 hours a day and wear an electronic ankle.

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Reuters

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Meng Wanzhou is the daughter of the founder of Huawei

Ms. Meng is accused in the US of using a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom to circumvent sanctions against Iran between 2009 and 2014.

She denies any wrongdoing and says that she will deny the allegations.

US President Donald Trump said he was ready to intervene in the case.

The arrest took place against the background of an increasingly bitter trade dispute between the US and China.