Last week, a Canadian citizen was sentenced to death on drug charges in the city of Foshan, Guangdong. Since January 2019, four Canadian nationals have been given the death sentence for drug-related crimes in China.
Ye Jianhui was sentenced last Friday by the Foshan Municipal Intermediate Court, according to a brief statement on the court’s official website. Ye had been found guilty of manufacturing and transporting illegal drugs. Another suspect in the case was also sentenced to death and four others were given sentences ranging from seven years to life in prison.
Death sentences are automatically referred to China’s highest court for review.
On Friday, Wang Wenbin, spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry, addressed the latest case during a press conference, saying, “China is a country under the rule of law, and its judicial organs handle cases independently in strict accordance with the law.”
Ye’s sentencing came one day after another Canadian Xu Weihong was given the death penalty on drug charges by Guangzhou Municipal Intermediate Court. Over 120 kilograms of ketamine were confiscated from Xu’s home and another address. Xu resided in Haizhu district, according to CBC.
Following the news, Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said, “We oppose the death penalty at every step of the way,” adding that “We have said it time and time and time again to the Chinese government and will continue to do that,” as cited by CBC.
Canadian nationals Robert Schellenberg and Fan Wei were handed death sentences for drug smuggling in January and April 2019, respectively. Schellenberg has a criminal record dating back to 2003, and was arrested in 2012 in Canada for possession of cocaine and heroin for the purpose of trafficking. After he was released in mid-2013, he traveled to Dalian the following year and was later arrested in Guangzhou for his involvement to an international drug smuggling operation.
In June, two Canadians were also charged with crimes related to spying for ‘overseas forces.’ Canada and other Western nations have suggested the arrests may have been politically motivated retaliation for the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in December 2018, however Chinese authorities denied any link between the cases.
[Cover image via Pixabay]