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China Condemns Canadian To Death After A Drug Trial; Ottawa Deeply Concerned

China Condemns Canadian To Death After A Drug Trial; Ottawa Deeply Concerned

A Chinese court convicted a Canadian to death on Thursday for producing drugs, the 3rd such case in China since Canada arrested a top Huawei Technologies Co Ltd executive in 2018.

The Canadian, classified as Xu Weihong, was convicted after a trial in the southern city of Guangzhou, the Guangzhou Intermediate Court announced in a notice on its website.

In Ottawa, the Canadian foreign ministry said in a statement that it was "profoundly concerned" by the verdict and called on China to award clemency to Xu.

The Guangzhou court didn't say what kind of drugs Xu had been convicted of producing, nor provide any other details about his crime. The court ordered his assets to be confiscated.

Reuters was not quickly able to ascertain if Xu has a lawyer.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, asked about the situation at a general briefing, said drug crimes were crucial, and everyone was equal before the law.

"China's appropriate authorities examined the case autonomously according to law. I don't think it should have any effect on China-Canada relations," Wang said.

A Chinese national, Wen Guanxiong, was also credited with producing drugs in the same case and imprisoned for life, the court said in its report.

Relations between China and Canada worsened pointedly after Canadian police detained Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's CFO in Vancouver in late 2018, on a permit from the United States.

China last year convicted Canadians Robert Lloyd Schellenberg and Fan Wei to death on drug charges in separate incidents. Both men have caught appeals.

Two other Canadian men, businessman Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, a retired diplomat, were arrested in China days after Meng's arrest and were charged in June 2020 with espionage. China has rejected that its arrests are related to Meng's case.

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