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China sentences second Canadian to death on drug charges in two days

Her arrest enraged Beijing, which calls it a political move aimed at constraining China’s rise as a global technology power.

Ye’s sentencing came a day after fellow Canadian Xu Weihong was given the death penalty by the Guangzhou Municipal Intermediate Court, also in Guandong province.

Meng Wanzhou on her way to court in Vancouver in May.

Meng Wanzhou on her way to court in Vancouver in May.Credit:Bloomberg

Convicted Canadian drug smuggler Robert Schellenberg was sentenced to death in a sudden retrial shortly after Meng’s arrest, and a Canadian citizen identified as Fan Wei was given the death penalty in April 2019 for his role in a multinational drug smuggling case.

China also detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor weeks after Meng’s arrest, accusing them of vague national security crimes. China has also placed restrictions on various Canadian exports to China, including canola seed oil, in an apparent attempt to pressure China into releasing Meng.

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The court statement gave no further details of the charges against Ye and the others.

However, the website of the Yangcheng Evening News based in the neighbouring metropolis of Guangzhou said Ye and co-defendant Lu Hanchang conspired with others to manufacture and transport drugs between May 2015 and January 2016.

Police seized roughly 218 kilograms of white crystals infused with the designer drug MDMA from a room used by the two, and found another 9.84 grams of the drug in bags and residences used by Lu and others, the newspaper said.

China, like many Asian nations, hands out harsh punishments for making and selling drugs, and the country’s rising wealth and transformation into a centre for world trade has attracted growing numbers of foreigners to its domestic market for illegal substances.

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In December 2009, Pakistani-British businessman Akmal Shaikh was executed after being convicted of smuggling heroin, despite calls for clemency on the grounds that he was mentally disturbed.

China is believed to execute more criminals each year than all other nations combined. Although the actual figure is a state secret, estimates put it at 2000.

Commenting on Thursday on Xu’s sentencing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the matter had been handled “independently in strict accordance with Chinese law and legal procedures”.

“This case should not inflict any impact on China-Canada relations,” Wang said.

AP

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