China Rejects Trudeau's Immunity Claim for Detained Canadian

A still image taken from CCTV video shows Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg in court where he was sentenced with a death penalty for drug smuggling in Dalian

China Rejects Trudeau's Immunity Claim for Detained Canadian

A former Canadian diplomat detained in China last month does not enjoy diplomatic immunity, a Chinese spokeswoman said Monday, rejecting a complaint from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the man's rights were being denied.

In December, Chinese state media raised the case of Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, who at that point was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

He was arrested along with Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor on vague national security allegations after a top Chinese executive with telecommunications network equipment giant Huawei was detained in Canada on December 1 at the request of Washington. In November 2018, he was sentenced to 15 years in jail and a fine amounting to 150,000 yuan ($22,185). While reviewing the appeal, Liaoning province's high court argued that the Canadian had been part of an global drug smuggling operation and ruled that the initial punishment was too lenient, considering the crimes that he had committed. Drug smuggling is an offence punishable by death in China.

China denounced her arrest, warning of unspecified consequences unless Meng was released, and detained Michael Kovrig, a Canadian foreign ministry employee on unpaid leave, and Michael Spavor, a Canadian consultant, on suspicion of endangering state security.

William Nee, a China researcher at Amnesty International, expressed similar sentiments to the Hong Kong-based newspaper.

"I would suggest the Canadian study the Vienna Convention before making such a comment, so as not to be inaccurate and make oneself a laughing stock", Hua said, in response to a question about Trudeau's remarks.

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China is known for handing out harsh sentences for drug crimes including the death penalty when substantial amounts of illicit substances are involved.

China has vehemently protested Meng's arrest in Canada and vowed to retaliate. It said he was recruited to help smuggle more than 488 pounds of methamphetamine from a warehouse in Dalian city to Australia.

"That would harm Canadians, but it would also harm Chinese", he said.

"This is a case about Xu Qing". At a news briefing Friday, a spokesman for the ministry, Lu Kang, said critics should not undermine Chinese law for political purposes.

According to Globe and Mail Beijing correspondent Nathan VanderKlippe, Schellenberg and his lawyers were frequently interrupted by a prosecutor and the chief judge at the trial as they attempted to argue that Schellenberg was nothing more than a normal tourist who had accidentally got himself caught up in a cross-border drug smuggling conspiracy because of a man who he thought was his translator.

China has executed other foreigners for drug-related crimes in the past, including a Japanese national in 2014 and a Filipino in 2013.

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