Canadians warned about China’s ‘arbitrary’ laws after death sentence

China denies detained Canadian has diplomatic immunity

Zhang Dongshuo, Schellenberg's lawyer, said he has 10 days to appeal. "Beijing will have to answer to the world why this particular case against a citizen of this particular country had to be retried at this particular moment".

China-Canada ties turned icy in early December after Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, was arrested in Vancouver on a U.S. extradition warrant.

The Canadian citizen was first detained in 2014 following a drug trafficking investigation.

In an opening statement, Schellenberg said he had come to China after travelling through Southeast Asia, including Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

"This is a very unique case", Zhang told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

His retrial at the Dalian Intermediate People's Court on Monday was hasty.

The tempo of Schellenberg's case has accelerated since Meng's arrest.

After showing "extreme concern" over the issue, the Canadian Prime Minister accused China of "arbitrarily" applying the death sentence against Schellenberg and asked "all countries around the world" to be aware of China's manner of conduct.

The court said Schellenberg had conspired with others in an attempt to smuggle 222 kg (489.43 lb) of methamphetamine from China to Australia in late 2014. But within weeks of Meng's December 1 arrest, an appeals court suddenly reversed that decision, saying the sentence was too lenient, and scheduled Monday's retrial with just four days' notice.

China's abrupt retrial of Schellenberg "is suspicious, to say the least", tweeted Roland Paris, a University of Ottawa professor of global affairs and a former adviser to the Trudeau government.

Officials in Beijing have denied that Schellenberg's sentence and the arrests of Kovrig and Spavor were in retaliation for Meng's situation, according to the Times.

Further escalating the diplomatic rift between Ottawa and Beijing, a Chinese spokesperson said earlier on Monday that Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat taken into custody the day after Meng's arrest, was not eligible for diplomatic immunity as Trudeau has maintained.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said Trudeau should "earnestly study" the Vienna Convention governing diplomatic ties so as to "not become a laughing stock".

A Chinese person convicted of involvement in the same operation as Schellenberg received a suspended death sentence earlier.

She told The New York Times he had "become a pawn" following Meng's arrest in Canada.

He says that China's leaders seem to think that the Canadian government can influence the courts like the Chinese Communist Party can in China.

Canada accused China last week of not respecting the principles of diplomatic immunity in the detention of Kovrig - who is an employee of Canada's foreign department but has been on leave from that job to work with the International Crisis Group.

Lu Shaye, China's ambassador to Canada, suggested in a newspaper article last week that the arrest of Kovrig and Spavor was "China's self-defence", but did not give details.

Last week, Poland arrested a Huawei director and one of its own former cybersecurity experts and charged them with spying for China.

"As long as the foreign citizens in China abide by Chinese laws and regulations, they are welcomed and their safety and freedom are guaranteed", Hua said.

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