A Chinese court sentenced a Canadian man to death on drug charges, a decision that follows capital punishment rulings handed down to other Canadians and comes as ties between Beijing and Ottawa remain fraught.
The Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court on Thursday sentenced Canadian Xu Weihong to death on charges related to the production of drugs, China’s Global Times reported. Xu and alleged accomplice Wen Guanxiong were convicted for producing ketamine, with police confiscating 266 pounds of the drug from Xu’s home in Guangzhou and another address, according to the Associated Press, which cited local media reports.
Broader relations between the two countries have been strained since Canadian officials arrested Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in 2018, a move that was immediately followed by Beijing detaining two Canadian citizens working in China, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
Last year, China sentenced Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg to death on drug trafficking charges, a move that came shortly after Meng’s arrest and which Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced as “arbitrary.” Another Canadian national, Fan Wei, was also subsequently given the death penalty by a Chinese court.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said Thursday that the case was handled independently and according to the law, adding that it should not have any impact on Canada-China relations.
“Keeping the death sentence will deter serious criminals,” Wang said. “People are equal in front of the law and criminals of all nationalities in China are treated equally.”