A Chinese court said on Friday it had sentenced a Canadian to death for transporting and manufacturing drugs, the second Canadian in two days to receive a death penalty for drugs and fourth since Canada detained a top Huawei executive in 2018.
Relations between China and Canada deteriorated sharply after Canadian police detained Huawei Technologies Co Ltd chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on a warrant from the United States.
Asked if the sentencing of the Canadian drug offenders was linked to Meng’s case, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a briefing on Friday that China’s judicial organs “handle cases independently,” while also adding that “the Canadian side knows the root cause” of difficulties in China-Canadian relations.
Ye Jianhui, a Canadian national, was sentenced after a trial in the southern city of Foshan, the Foshan Intermediate People’s Court said in a notice on its website.
Police found 218 kilograms (481 pounds) of white crystals containing MDMA, commonly known as ecstasy, in the room used by Ye and five other men, according to a local media report.
Of the other five men, all Chinese nationals, one was sentenced to death, while the rest were given jail sentences ranging from seven years to life, according to the court notice.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Friday that Canada strongly opposes the death penalty.
Freeland noted Canada has long opposed the death penalty as a cruel and inhumane form of punishment and that Canadian officials will keep making this clear to China.
She did not, however, link these two cases to the ongoing diplomatic tensions between Canada and China over the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.
CALL FOR CLEMENCY
The sentencing of Ye and his accomplices came just one day after another Chinese court sentenced Canadian Xu Weihong to death for making drugs.
China last year sentenced Canadians Robert Lloyd Schellenberg and Fan Wei to death on drug charges in separate cases. Both men have lodged appeals.
“Canada requests clemency for all Canadian citizens who have been sentenced to death, and calls on China to grant clemency to Mr. Xu.” said the Canadian foreign ministry spokesman John Babcock when asked about Xu.
China-Canada relations quickly soured after Meng’s arrest.
Two other Canadian men – businessman Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat – were detained in China days after Meng’s arrest, and were charged in June 2020 with espionage.
China has denied that their arrest was linked to Meng’s case.
— With files from The Canadian Press