Last updated on January 20th, 2019
China has rejected accusations from Canada that it is arbitrarily applying death sentence to a Canadian, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, convicted of drug smuggling. The statement implies that the already heated blames of arbitrarily detaining each other’s citizens is further stiffed up between the two nations.
Schellenberg was initially given a 15-year jail sentence in November. On Monday, the court increased it to death sentence, stating that the original verdict was too lenient.
He was arrested back in 2014, on charges of planning to smuggle almost 500lb (227kg) of methamphetamine from China to Australia. Notably, he had already previously faced drug -related convictions in Canada. He denied having any plans to smuggle the drug out from China this time, stating he entered the nation as a tourist and was framed.
China’s foreign ministry warned Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to “stop making such irresponsible remarks”, accusing Canada of “double standards”.
The ruling has plausibly been linked to the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, on suspicion of using a subsidiary company to evade US sanctions on Iran between 2009 and 2014.
Meng denied the charges, and has been granted bail for now. However, she still remains under constant surveillance and must wear an electronic ankle tag.
Hua, of the foreign ministry, said: “He was involved in drug smuggling… the facts are clear; the evidence is solid.” She said that “the Canadian government should remind its citizens not to engage in drug smuggling”.
The latest ruling in Schellenberg case further caught the pace after Canada updated its travel advice for China and urged its citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution due to the risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws”. To which, Hua responded by saying, ” China is safe as long as Canadians and others abide by Chinese laws.”
However, Beijing was not done yet and it even issued its own travel warning, calling on the Chinese people to “fully assess the risks of travelling to Canada”.
The diplomacy has clearly overpowered Schellenberg’s case, yet China has denied that their move is politically influenced and death sentence has nothing to do with it.
Schellenberg’s lawyer, Zhang Dongshuo, told Reuters that his client’s verdict should not have been changed because no new evidence has emerged out, in lieu of which the changes in punishment if any, should occur. He further intends to appeal for Schellenberg.