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China sentences another Canadian to death on drug charges

A court in China has sentenced another Canadian citizen to death on drug charges, prompting censure by Canada, amid persisting tensions between the two countries over Ottawa’s arrest of a Huawei executive.

The Intermediate People’s Court in Jiangmen City announced in a statement on Tuesday that it handed down the sentence to Canadian Fan Wei for his leading role in the production and trafficking of addictive stimulant methamphetamine.

Fan is the second Canadian sentenced to death in China on drug charges so far this year, amid a period of growing tensions between the two countries since last December, when Canadian authorities arrested the chief financial officer of China-based Huawei Technologies at the demand of US prosecutors.

Reacting to the newer ruling, Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland condemned the use of capital punishment, describing it as “cruel and inhumane punishment which should not be used in any country.”

“We’re very concerned by this sentence. Canada stands firmly opposed to the use of the death penalty everywhere… We are obviously particularly concerned when it is applied to Canadians,” Freeland said.

China also recently detained two Canadian nationals on national security grounds.

The arrests and convictions in China came after Canada arrested Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou, who is the daughter of the company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei.

US prosecutors have accused the Chinese corporation of conspiring to violate US sanctions against Iran, an allegation denied by Huawei and Meng, who is out on bail but under surveillance in Canada while awaiting possible extradition to the US.

Back in March, Beijing firmly protested Ottawa’s decision to approve extradition proceedings against Meng, nearly three months after her arrest in a Vancouver airport, branding the move as “a political persecution against a Chinese high-tech enterprise.”

China has also canceled Canadian agribusiness Richardson International Ltd’s registration to ship canola to China this year.