Canadian Sentenced to Death in China for Allegedly ‘Making Drugs’

This photo taken on January 14, 2019 shows the Dalian Intermediate People's Court before the retrial of Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg on drug trafficking charges, in Dalian, China's northeast Liaoning province. - A Chinese court's decision to impose the death penalty on a convicted Canadian drug smuggler has escalated a …
ELIZABETH LAW/AFP via Getty Images

Canadian citizen Xu Weihong was sentenced to death in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou on Thursday after being charged with “making drugs.”

Xu is the third Canadian to be given a death sentence for drug charges since Canada arrested Huawei executive and Chinese Communist Party elite Meng Wanzhou in 2018 for extradition to the United States.

Reuters reported that the sentence posted online by the Guangzhou Intermediate Court did not specify what drugs Xu was accused of making or “give any other details about his crime.” For that matter, few details were given about his trial, including whether or not he actually had legal representation.

Canada’s CBC News sussed out some more information on the case from Guangzhou media, including that Wu and a local accomplice allegedly “gathered ingredients and tools and began making ketamine in October 2016, then stored the final product in Xu’s home in Guangzhou’s Haizhu district.”

“Police later confiscated more than 120 kilograms of the drug from Xu’s home and another address,” according to the reports translated by CBC.

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

China’s state-run Global Times quoted the Foreign Ministry insisting that “Chinese judicial organs handle cases independently in strict accordance with the law and legal procedures.” 

The ministry stressed the severe consequences to society from drug abuse, described the death penalty as an appropriate deterrent, and pointed out that a Chinese national from Guangzhou was sentenced to life in prison and stripped of all his property for the same offense that earned Xu a death sentence.

CBC noted the Chinese government’s fury over the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, accused of fraud and sanctions evasion by the U.S. government, and its various efforts to intimidate Canada into releasing Meng, including the arrest of Candian diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor. The Chinese Communist government alternates between angrily insisting Kovrig and Spavor were properly indicted for purely non-political reasons and openly offering to release them in exchange for Meng.

China also infamously announced a speedy trial and unexpected death sentence for Canadian citizen Robert Lloyd Schellenberg in December 2018. Schellenberg was sentenced to 15 years in prison, appealed his sentence, and was condemned to death instead. The Canadian government denounced his treatment as “arbitrary and inhumane.”

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