China defends Canadian’s death sentence; Ottawa issues travel advisory

China defends Canadian’s death sentence; Ottawa issues travel advisory
In this image taken from a video footage run by China’s CCTV, Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg attends his retrial on January 14.
Beijing, Jan 15 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 1/15/2019 11:42:28 AM IST

China on Tuesday defended the death sentence handed out to a Canadian for smuggling drugs and warned Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau against making “irresponsible” remarks about Chinese law.

A Chinese court in the northeastern city of Dalian on Monday gave the death penalty to Robert Lloyd Schellenberg for smuggling drugs, aggravating tensions between Beijing and Ottawa who are locked in a dispute over Canada’s arrest of telecom giant Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou.

The evidence against Schellenberg is “…compelling and ample, and the criminal charges are well founded,” the court said.

Reacting to the death sentence, Trudeau said: “China chose to arbitrarily apply the death penalty” on Schellenberg.

Late on Monday, Canada’s foreign ministry updated its travel advisory for China to warn citizens about “the risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws.”

It added: “We continue to advise all Canadians travelling to China to exercise a high degree of caution.”

The Chinese foreign ministry on Tuesday, in turn, strongly criticised Trudeau’s remarks, calling it “irresponsible”.

 “I think this is wrong. I don’t know if the relevant person has carefully read the notice issued by the Dalian’s Intermediate People’s Court and Chinese law,” foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying said at the regular ministry briefing.

Hua added that there was enough evidence against the 36-year-old Canadian who was part of an international syndicate and smuggled 222 kg of methamphetamine into China.

 “Drugs smuggling is a grave crime in other countries of the world... and it is the same in China. All people are equal before the law,” she said.

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