A Chinese court on Friday sentenced a Canadian citizen to death on drug-related charges, the second Canadian to receive the death penalty in as many days, and the fourth from the country to be given capital punishment since Ottawa detained a top executive of the Chinese company, Huawei, in 2018.
The Foshan Intermediate People’s Court in South China’s Guangdong province handed out the death sentence to Ye Jianhui, a Canadian citizen, for manufacturing and transporting drugs, state media reported.
The case goes back to 2016 when Ye was found to have worked with others to produce and transport drugs including MDMA.
Ye’s accomplice, Lu Hanchang, was sentenced to death on the same charge, the state-run Global Times reported, adding that four other members of the gang received sentences of up to life imprisonment.
On Thursday, a court in the southern city of Guangzhou sentenced a Canadian citizen, Xu Weihong, to death for producing drugs.
Xu was sentenced to death for manufacturing ketamine, a tranquilizing drug for humans and animals on Thursday
Asked on Friday about Ye’s sentencing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China “is a country under the rule of law and relevant judicial organs handle the case independently in strict accordance with the law.”
The new convictions come at a time when ties between China and Canada are strained over the case of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei Technologies, who was arrested in the Canadian city of Vancouver in late 2018, on a warrant from the US.
Commenting on Meng’s arrest, spokesperson Wang said on Friday that her detention was a “serious political incident” and again called for her release.
“Regarding China-Canada relations, China is not responsible for the difficulties that the current China-Canada relationship is facing,” Wang said.
“The Canadian side knows very well the crux of the problem.”
Beijing has said that the US and Canada have abused their bilateral extradition treaty to arbitrarily take compulsory measures against a Chinese citizen without cause.
In January 2019, a Canadian citizen Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was given the death sentence in the north-eastern city of Dalian after the judge had changed his original 15-year jail sentence.
Schellenberg, then 36, was detained in 2014 on suspicion of smuggling crystal meth from China to Australia.
Three months later, in April 2019, Fan Wei, another Canadian was sentenced to death in the southern city of Jiangmen.
Beijing has also formally charged two Canadians, ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor, with spying since bilateral diplomatic hostilities began.
China has denied that their arrests were linked to Meng’s case.