China sentences Canadian to death on drugs charge

A Chinese court has sentenced a Canadian citizen to death on charges of producing the drug ketamine.

A court notice in the city of Guangzhou said Xu Weihong was found guilty after a trial. His alleged accomplice, Wen Guanxiong, was given a life sentence.

No details of the case were disclosed. He is the third Canadian to be sentenced to death in China recently.

Relations between the countries have been tense since the arrest of a Huawei executive in Vancouver in late 2018.

Meng Wanzhou’s detention following a request from the United States angered China and soured relations with both Canada and the US.

Local media in Guangzhou in southern China reported that Xu Weihong and Wen Guanxiong began making the drug in October 2016. Police later seized 120kgs (266 pounds) of it from Mr Xu’s home and another address, the reports said.

Ketamine is a powerful animal tranquilizer that has become popular as a recreational drug.

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said there was no connection between the case and the current state of China-Canada relations.

“I would like to stress that China’s judicial authorities handle the relevant case independently in strict accordance with Chinese law and legal procedures,” said Mr Wang. “Death sentences for drug-related crimes that are extremely dangerous will help deter and prevent such crimes.”

Last year two other Canadian nationals were sentenced to death over drug charges. Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was found guilty of drug smuggling after a sudden retrial. Months later another man, Fan Wei, was given the death penalty for trafficking methamphetamine.

In December 2018, China began detaining two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, accusing them of spying. They were formally arrested earlier this year.


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