Chinese authorities have sentenced to death yet another Canadian on drug charges, less than two weeks before another extradition hearing in Vancouver for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. It is at least the third such sentence against a Canadian in China since last January.
Xu Weihong was accused of buying equipment and raw materials for the manufacture of drugs in October, 2016, as well as making ketamine at another person’s home and storing it at his own residence in the Haizhu district of Guangzhou, a Chinese state court report said Thursday.
Chinese police seized more than 120 kilograms of ketamine, according to the report, and the Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Mr. Xu to death for manufacturing narcotics.
Mr. Xu is Canadian, the report said.
China has been called the world’s most prolific state executioner by human-rights groups, and Chinese courts treat drug crimes with particular severity.
Later Thursday, a spokesman for the federal government said Canada is “profoundly concerned” about a Canadian citizen sentenced to death on drug charges in China..
“Canada opposes the use of the death penalty in all cases, everywhere,” Global Affairs Canada spokesman John Babcock said. “Canada has consistently raised our firm opposition to the death penalty with China and will continue to do so.”
The sentence against Mr. Xu comes after two other Canadians – Robert Schellenberg and Fan Wei – were also sentenced to death in China last year on drug charges, in the midst of tensions between the two countries after the arrest of Ms. Meng at the Vancouver airport and the subsequent arrests in China of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
Ms. Meng is accused by the U.S. of fraud related to violations of sanctions against Iran, while the two Canadians have been charged with state-secrets violations. Chinese authorities have not made public any evidence or detailed allegations against the two men.
It’s not clear what effect the judgment against Mr. Xu will have on relations between the two countries. Ottawa has traditionally protested against any death sentence of a Canadian, and Ottawa has criticized the arrests of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor, as well as the sentencing of Mr. Schellenberg, as “arbitrary.”
With Mr. Fan, Global Affairs Canada has called “unequivocally for clemency.” But Canadian officials have also indicated that they do not believe the case against him is arbitrary.
At the same time, Chinese authorities have announced severe penalties against Canadians in close proximity to developments in the legal proceedings against Ms. Meng.
The death sentence for Mr. Xu was made public 11 days before a week-long hearing scheduled to begin Aug. 17 in the extradition case against Ms. Meng in the British Columbia Supreme Court.
With a report from The Canadian Press
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