BEIJING – China has sentenced a second Canadian in as many days to death on drug charges.
Ye Jianhui is the fourth Canadian citizen to be handed a death sentence on such charges in less than two years following a sharp downturn in ties over the arrest of an executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei.
He was found guilty of manufacturing and transporting illegal drugs and sentenced by the Foshan Municipal Intermediate Court in the southern province of Guangdong.
Death sentences are automatically referred to China’s highest court for review.
Ye’s sentencing comes a day after fellow Canadian Xu Weihong was given the death penalty by the Guangzhou Municipal Intermediate Court, also in Guangdong province.
Convicted Canadian drug smuggler Robert Schellenberg was sentenced to death in a sudden retrial shortly after the December 2018 arrest at Vancouver International Airport of Chinese tech executive Meng Wanzhou
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.
Ties between Canada and China have nosedived since Meng’s arrest at the request of the U-S, which wants her extradited to face fraud charges over the company’s dealings with Iran.
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.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin says China “is a country under the rule of law and relevant judicial organs handle the case independently in strict accordance with the law.”
Wang again called for Meng’s release saying China is not responsible for the difficulties that the current China-Canada relationship is facing and adding “The Canadian side knows very well the crux of the problem.”