A fourth Canadian was sentenced by a Chinese court to death Friday on drug charges, fueling the tension between the two countries.
Ye Jianhui’s sentencing is the second death penalty to a Canadian handed out by a Chinese court in as many days – Xu Weihong received the same punishment, Thursday.
Ye was found guilty by the Foshan Municipal Intermediate Court of the manufacture and transportation of drugs, while an accomplice was also given a death sentence. Another four were handed sentences ranging from seven years to life.
The case marks another blow to Canada/Chinese relations that have deteriorated since the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. Meng is the daughter of the tech giant’s founder.
She was arrested Dec. 1, 2018 at Vancouver International Airport at the behest of American authorities. The Americans, who have an extradition agreement with Canada, want Meng sent to the U.S. to face fraud charges in connection with contravening U.S. sanctions against Iran.
She is undergoing a court extradition hearing in Canada and remains under house arrest.
Beijing expressed outrage at Meng’s detention and demanded Meng’s immediate release.
When that did not happen, China unleashed what were widely viewed as retaliatory measures against Canada, including the arrest of two Canadians on spying charges, bans on certain agricultural imports and contravening an agreement to provide coronavirus vaccine candidates to Canada for human testing.
As well, four Canadians have been given the death sentence.
Not long after the Meng arrest, convicted drug smuggler Robert Schellenberg was retried and sentenced to death and the same penalty was meted out to Fan Wei in April 2019, also on drug smuggling charges.
The Canadian government has not yet reacted to the latest arrest, but Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne did comment Thursday on the Xu sentencing.
“We oppose the death penalty every step of the way,” he said in an interview with the CBC, Canada’s national broadcaster. “We have said it time and time and time again to the Chinese government and will continue to do that.”
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