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China brushes off outrage over death sentence, Canada fires back

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China brushes off outrage over death sentence, Canada fires back

By Philip Wen and David Ljunggren

 

2019-01-17T032334Z_2_LYNXNPEF0F0ML_RTROPTP_4_CHINA-CANADA.JPG

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, Liaoning province, China January 14, 2019. CCTV/Reuters TV via REUTERS

 

BEIJING/SHERBROOKE, Quebec (Reuters) - China said on Wednesday it was "not worried in the slightest" by mounting international concern over the death sentence handed to a Canadian for drug smuggling.

 

Monday's sentence for Robert Schellenberg for smuggling 222 kg (489 lbs) of methamphetamines prompted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to accuse China of "arbitrarily" applying the death penalty.

 

Trudeau has called several world leaders in recent days to share concerns about the case of Schellenberg and two Canadians that Beijing detained last month after a senior Chinese executive was arrested in Vancouver on a U.S. arrest warrant.

 

Speaking at a daily news briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Canada's "so-called allies could be counted on ten fingers" and did not represent the views of the wider international community.

 

"I can very clearly state that we are not worried in the slightest," Hua said of the mounting outcry, adding that a majority of Chinese supported severe punishment for drug crimes.

 

Schellenberg's sentence has further strained relations between China and Canada, already aggravated by the December arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL], on a U.S. extradition request.

 

Asked about Hua's remarks, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland noted that the 28-nation European Union had offered its backing to Ottawa.

 

"We're very pleased to have this support from the EU which ..., like Canada, believes in the rule of law," she told reporters as Trudeau's cabinet prepared to meet in Sherbrooke, Quebec.

 

For the second day in a row, however, she stressed that Canada and China enjoyed a broad and deep relationship.

 

Freeland and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke on Tuesday and "expressed their concerns about the arbitrary detentions and politically motivated sentencing of Canadian nationals", the State Department said.

 

Days after Meng's arrest, China detained two Canadians on suspicion of endangering state security. One of the men, Michael Kovrig, is a diplomat on leave without pay from Canada's embassy in Beijing.

 

John McCallum, Canada's ambassador to China, told reporters the standoff would not be settled quickly and vowed to enlist the help of foreign allies - especially the United States - and the business community.

 

"I think we have to engage the senior Chinese leaders and persuade them that what they are doing is not good for China's image in the world, it's not good for the image of corporate China," he said on the sidelines of the retreat.

 

"It's difficult, it won't happen tomorrow."

 

Trudeau complained last week that China was not respecting Kovrig's diplomatic immunity. A source directly familiar with the case said Canada was unhappy because Chinese officials were questioning Kovrig about his work when stationed at the embassy.

 

The news was first reported by the Globe and Mail newspaper.

 

McCallum said Kovrig and the other Canadian were being questioned up to four hours a day, had no access to lawyers and were only allowed one consular visit a month.

 

China has not linked any of the three Canadians' cases to Meng's arrest, but has warned of severe consequences if she was not immediately released.

 

The Global Times, a state-run tabloid with a nationalistic bent, said China "cannot be weak at this time".

 

"Canada does not have any special cards that can allow Chinese law to bow its head to it," the newspaper said in an editorial on Wednesday, adding that Canada's protests would have no effect.

 

Freeland said on Tuesday that Ottawa had formally applied for clemency for Schellenberg.

 

When asked if China typically listened to this type of request, Hua said the judiciary was not subject to "interference from administrative organs".

 

"You ask whether China is willing to listen to the Canadian side's request, but I don't know if Canada's leaders or politicians have seriously listened to China's solemn position," Hua said.

 

Schellenberg had appealed against an original 15-year prison sentence issued in November, but the court in Liaoning province sided with prosecutors who argued at a retrial that the punishment was too light.

 

(Additional reporting by Susan Heavey in Washington; editing by Darren Schuettler and James Dalgleish)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-01-17

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The Chinese public is even questioning the speed to which this case changed from 15 yrs to death. 

 

This is because, imo, Canada arrested Meng. Now China's actions are showing the rest of the world, if they didn't know already, the kind of country and people these Chinese are.

The Great Wall isn't so great anymore!

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Does anybody know if the guy actually did try to smuggle drugs or not. I've read a lot about this but nowhere have I read he was caught with drugs. It's all about the death sentence.

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2 hours ago, Roadman said:

Let me get this right.

The idiot in charge of the US gets the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets (not UN sanctioned) to impose sanctions on Iran. The Canadians then act as bully boys on behalf of the US to arrest Wanzhou. Then the Canadians go crying like little bitches to the rest of the world when the Chinese do some bullying back. About sums it up. 

Your juvenile and crude wording n

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222 Kg that's 3 times my body weight. Hardly for personal use.

If that's the law, so be it

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This is nothing more than a silly, inane, transparent, bullying tactic, on the part of China, to get their way. They are not wielding their newfound power lightly. And it is going to get worse over time. They are an authoritarian, autocratic dictatorship, and they have no respect for the rules of law. Granted, what this guy did was beyond dumb. But, the sentence had already been passed long ago, and this is simply a bully acting up. Canada has shown alot of courage to stand up to both the Chinese, and the Saudi governments. Both are wrong. Both are immoral. Both are heinous. Canada is simply calling them out, for what they are. China is so used to handing out the death penalty, it is probably not even considered strange to the Chinese people, who are so accustomed to seeing it, along with so many other forms of draconian behavior, on the part of their horrific leaders. 

 

In terms of the Huawei scandal, that seems bizarre to me. The US has every right to impose sanctions on a nation, if they see fit. But, to impose going along with those sanctions unilaterally on the entire planet, seems ridiculous to me. How can they do that? Is that even legal for the US to force other nations to agree to their sanctions on Iran? 

Edited by spidermike007
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11 minutes ago, spidermike007 said:

This is nothing more than a silly, inane, transparent, bullying tactic, on the part of China, to get their way. They are not wielding their newfound power lightly. And it is going to get worse over time. They are an authoritarian, autocratic dictatorship, and they have no respect for the rules of law. Granted, what this guy did was beyond dumb. But, the sentence had already been passed long ago, and this is simply a bully acting up. Canada has shown alot of courage to stand up to both the Chinese, and the Saudi governments. Both are wrong. Both are immoral. Both are heinous. Canada is simply calling them out, for what they are. China is so used to handing out the death penalty, it is probably not even considered strange to the Chinese people, who are so accustomed to seeing it, along with so many other forms of draconian behavior, on the part of their horrific leaders. 

 

In terms of the Huawei scandal, that seems bizarre to me. The US has every right to impose sanctions on a nation, if they see fit. But, to impose going along with those sanctions unilaterally on the entire planet, seems ridiculous to me. How can they do that? Is that even legal for the US to force other nations to agree to their sanctions on Iran? 

Depends on what the country signs up to do.  Many treaties and trade deals make some things illegal and the countries who are signed up to enforce them should do so.  Moral questions like chopping up a news guy not so clear a course of action. 

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1 hour ago, kamahele said:

The Canadians were not acting as bullies but following an extradition treaty with the United States. 

 

Was the request the Canadians acted on from a US Court and/or law enforcement agency or was it via political / diplomatic channels?

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2 hours ago, Cereal said:

Does anybody know if the guy actually did try to smuggle drugs or not. I've read a lot about this but nowhere have I read he was caught with drugs. It's all about the death sentence.

Yes, that question should be asked. And if answered 'yes', also look at the amount.

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5 hours ago, JCauto said:

Yes, there were sanctions on Iran originating from the US and which are lawful insofar as they've followed the procedures by which such sanctions are imposed and agreed upon. The Canadians then were served an internationally-recognized warrant for the arrest of the Chinese VP of Huawei for breaking said sanctions. They, having no other choice being signatories to Interpol and the other international agreements by which criminals are arrested when outside of their home countries, enforced said legal arrest warrant. The Chinese, not respecting international law, then demanded that Canada break said law, and threatened consequences if they did not. The sudden and unusual appeal that has now resulted in a newly imposed death sentence was the obvious and connected consequence, something already explicitly admitted to by the Chinese Government spokesman.

So who is the bully? You could make a case for the Americans if you believe the sanctions to be unfair, or you could make a case for the Chinese who are clearly trying to intimidate Canada into ignoring the laws to which they have already agreed upon. But Canada? How are they anything other than an innocent bystander in this proxy war? If they ignored the arrest warrant, they ignore their solemn and longstanding commitment to the international law protocols of Interpol and others. If they execute the arrest warrant, they're subject to illegal and unprecedented pressure from China to not follow the law, even to the point of executing someone who had nothing whatsoever to do with this dispute. 

Of course, you're simply trolling, as nobody with logical faculties could come to the absurd conclusions you have, and then couched it in such insulting terms. Now that we've established that, do you really feel that international law should be dispensed with and that the Chinese or Americans should have license to do whatever they wish, commensurate with their economic and/or military power?

I don't know if Canada has a sneaky outfit like the CIA that could get her on a private jet back to China. The yanks would be pissed off but it would solve a lot of problems for Canada.

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