Canada asks China clemency for convicted drug trafficker Robert Lloyd Schellenberg

Canada asks China clemency for convicted drug trafficker Robert Lloyd Schellenberg

Zhang Dongshuo is the defence lawyer for Robert Schellenberg, who was sentenced to death earlier this week after appealing his original 15-year prison sentence for smuggling 222 kilograms of methamphetamines from China to Australia in 2014.

Trudeau said it should be of "extreme concern" to Canada's allies, as it was to his government, that China had chosen to " arbitrarily apply" the death penalty.

"We expect at a level of principle that not only the death penalty should not be applied but also wherever people are in trouble the rule of law ought be applied fairly", he said.

China is angered by Canada's effort to engage allies to make statements criticizing China's actions - which include the arrest of two Canadian citizens, one a former diplomat, on unspecified national security allegations.

Wanzhou, who is the chief financial officer of tech company Huawei, was arrested because of an extradition request from the USA, which accuses her of violating American sanctions against Iran.

The court gave no indication that the death penalty could be commuted, but observers said Schellenberg's fate is likely to be drawn into diplomatic negotiations over China's demand for Meng's release.

Schellenberg was jailed in China in 2016 for drug smuggling, but was retried on Monday and sentenced to death after an appeals court in that country agreed with prosecutors who said he was punished too leniently.

In this image taken from a video footage run by China's CCTV, Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, 36, attends his retrial at the Dalian Intermediate People's Court in Dalian, northeastern China's Liaoning province on Monday.

Taking Canada to task for issuing an updated travel advisory warning citizens about the risk of arbitrary enforcement of laws in China, Hua said Canada should instead remind its people to avoid drug smuggling.

Beijing issued a similar response hours later, calling on Chinese citizens to "travel cautiously" after a Chinese citizen was "arbitrarily detained on the basis of a request of a third-party country", an apparent reference to Meng's arrest.

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Hua called Trudeau's use of the word arbitrary to describe Schellenberg's trial in China as "highly irresponsible" and said it "lacks the minimal spirit of the rule of law".

The dispute between China and Canada has rattled the foreign diplomatic community in Beijing, particularly United States allies, which see their citizens could be put in a similar position in the future.

Schellenberg, who maintains he is innocent, has 10 days to appeal his sentence after he receives the official sentencing documents.

Hua told reporters at a daily briefing Tuesday that China expresses "our strong dissatisfaction with this".

Chinese state media has played up coverage of Schellenberg's case following the deterioration in relations with Canada.

Freeland said she had spoken to Schellenberg's father on Monday, adding it had been "a very emotional conversation for him".

Schellenberg has made a decision to lodge an appeal, according to his lawyer.

Beijing has brushed off the worldwide outcry over Schellenberg's case as insignificant.

"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.

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