Outur warns Canadians are unsafe in China after court upholds death sentence

Ottawa-Federal Conservative Party Prime Minister Erin O’Toole accused Beijing of using the death penalty for political purposes on Tuesday after a Chinese court upheld a Canadian sentenced to death in a drug case.

Outur also reopened the door to Canada’s boycott for the Winter Olympics in China next year, warning that recent actions by the Chinese government have shown that Canadians are not safe at home.

“We know how hard our athletes are training for Beijing,” a conservative leader said at a press conference in Oakville, Ontario. “But we are approaching that it is not safe for Canadians, including Olympic athletes, to travel to China.”

O’Toole’s comment came hours after the Northeastern Liaoning High People’s Court dismissed Robert Schellenberg’s appeal, which extended his 15-year sentence to January 2019 on suspicion of drug smuggling.

This is Huawei Technologies Ltd in Vancouver in December 2018. Meng Wanzhou was arrested for lying to the Hong Kong division of the British Bank HSBC about a possible deal with Iran in violation of trade sanctions.

China also arrested two Canadians, entrepreneur Michael Superber and former diplomat Michael Kovrig, on charges of apparent retaliation for Meng’s detention, and later brought them to trial. Critics describe their arrest as “hostage politics.”

Meng’s lawyer argues that the proceedings against Huawei’s chief financial officer are political motivations and that it is not a Canadian crime that she is accused of.

The Chinese government has criticized the arrest as part of an effort to thwart US technological development. Huawei, a manufacturer of networking equipment and smartphones, is China’s first global technology brand and is at the heart of the US-China tensions over technology and security.

The federal government ruled Tuesday that Schellenberg’s death sentence was arbitrary and that the punishment was “cruel and inhumane.”

Ambassador Dominic Barton told reporters after attending an appeal hearing in Shenyang, about 20 kilometers west of Dandong, “We condemned the verdict on the strongest possible terms and Robert. I urge China to give him a pardon. “

According to the court, Schellenberg was convicted of smuggling 222 kilograms of methamphetamine.

Outur, which is pressing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government to take a stricter relationship with Beijing, wasted time on Tuesday criticizing a Chinese court’s refusal to appeal Schellenberg.

“The denial of Robert Schellenberg’s proceedings must be seen as to what it is: a foreign government planning to kill Canadians for political reasons,” he said. “The use of the death penalty is abominable, but it is not permissible to impose it for political reasons.”

He goes on to announce another Chinese court in Superber’s proceedings Wednesday, even though a Vancouver court is preparing to hear closing arguments about whether Meng should be handed over to U.S. authorities. The Canadians said they were watching because they were expected to do so.

“We are proud of the athletes who are celebrating,” said Autour. “But we also have to be aware of the actions of the countries that want to host the convention to connect people, and we have long worked hard on whether to reward such countries at the convention. You need to think about it. “

Canada and other governments, including Australia and the Philippines, are facing increasing pressure from China, including trade boycotts in disputes over human rights, coronaviruses and territorial claims.

Washington warned Americans facing “an increased risk of arbitrary detention” in China for reasons other than law enforcement.

Asked if the Schellenberg, Spaber, and Kobrig cases were related to Men’s case, Burton said, “I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these are happening now during the event in Vancouver.” Said. He said the case was “part of the geopolitical process.”

He said a Canadian diplomat had talked with Schellenberg after the ruling but refused to reveal details.

“He’s very calm,” Burton said. “We had a good conversation.”

According to Burton, the hearing on Tuesday was attended by diplomats from the United States, Germany, Australia and France. He thanked them and other governments for expressing their support for Canada.

Two other Canadians, Hwang Wei and Shu Wei Hong, were also sentenced to death for drugs in separate cases in 2019 as the relationship between Beijing and Ottawa deteriorated.

By Lee Berthiaume

With a file from the Associated Press.

Canadian press