Canada Warns Travelers About Risks of Arbitrary Detention in China

Canada Warns Travelers About Risks of Arbitrary Detention in China

China is not putting pressure on Canada by sentencing a Canadian to death for drug smuggling, and any suggestion it was doing so showed "rude contempt" of China's law, its state media said. Beijing accused Canada of double standards.

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was given a 15-year jail term in November but, on Monday, a court said the sentence for drug smuggling was too lenient.

The ruling is likely to worsen a diplomatic row between the countries.

Meng, the daughter of the company's founder, is likely to face extradition to the United States over allegations she helped Huawei dodge U.S. sanctions on Iran. The United States, Britain, European Union and Australia have issued statements in support.

Ms Meng, 46, denies the charges.

Clarke said: "My prediction is that the Supreme People's Court will sit on the review decision for as long as Meng's fate remains undetermined".

Why was Schellenberg given a death sentence?

In 2014, after Canadian authorities arrested a Chinese businessman for extradition to the USA over hacking claims, Chinese police arrested a Canadian couple who had been running a cafe since the 1980s on spy charges.

A Chinese court on Monday sentenced a Canadian man to be executed for drug smuggling, prompting Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to accuse China of using the death penalty arbitrarily.

China executes one or two foreigners every year - almost all for drug offences, according to John Kamm, director of the US-based Dui Hua Foundation rights group.

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The revised advisory cautioned travellers of the "risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws", and noted that the "safety and security situation could change with little notice".

However, the execution of Westerners is less common. The last high-profile case was in 2009, when British national Akmal Shaikh was executed for carrying 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds) of heroin at Urumqi Airport.

"The court completely rejects the accused person's explanation and defence because it is completely at odds with the facts", the chief judge said in a courtroom packed with observers, including Canadian embassy officials.

Is the death penalty a political move?

It is unclear what he did between his release from prison - set for mid-2013 - and his involvement in the Chinese drug case. "The evidence is solid".

Experts said retrials are rare in China, especially ones calling for a harsher sentence, but rights groups note that courts are not independent and can be influenced by the ruling Communist Party.

China also suddenly began working hard to push Schellenberg's case to global prominence, taking the highly unusual step of inviting foreign journalists into the court, the BBC's John Sudworth in Beijing reports.

Zhang Dongshuo, Schellenberg's lawyer, told Reuters that the sentence should not have been increased because no new evidence was presented at the trial. He intends to appeal. "This unreasonable speculation is a rude contempt toward Chinese law".

Hua's comments add to increasingly strained relations between the two countries since Canada detained Meng on December 1, followed soon after by China's detention of Canadians Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and entrepreneur Michael Spavor on allegations they were undermining national security. Canada has also complained that as a former diplomat, Kovrig should be accorded a degree of immunity.

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