In this image taken from a video footage run by China’s CCTV, Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg attends his retrial at the Dalian Intermediate People’s Court in Dalian, northeastern China’s Liaoning province on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (CCTV via AP)

China criticizes Trudeau’s comments on death penalty decision

The tit-for-tat measures come after a court in northeastern China announced the death sentence for Robert Lloyd Schellenberg on Monday

China shot back at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday in expressing “strong dissatisfaction” with his criticism of a death sentence handed down to an alleged Canadian drug smuggler, while also cautioning its citizens about travelling to Canada.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Tuesday that Trudeau should “respect the rule of law, respect China’s judicial sovereignty, correct mistakes and stop making irresponsible remarks.”

READ MORE: Man sentenced to death in China had prior drug convictions in Abbotsford

Hua told reporters at a daily briefing in Beijing that China expresses “our strong dissatisfaction with this.”

The foreign ministry’s consular affairs office also published a notice Tuesday saying that Canada has recently “arbitrarily detained” a Chinese national — a reference to Canada’s arrest of Chinese telecommunications executive Meng Wanzhou at the request of the United States.

It urged Chinese citizens to consider their personal circumstances and “fully assess the risks of going to Canada for tourism.” It added that Chinese people should approach travel to Canada with caution.

The notice mirrored Canada’s revision of its own travel advisory Monday that warned of the “risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws” in China.

The tit-for-tat measures come after a court in northeastern China announced the death sentence for Robert Lloyd Schellenberg on Monday, overturning a 15-year prison term issued following his trial in 2016 on charges of being an accessory to drug smuggling.

Trudeau said he was very concerned to see China “acting arbitrarily” by applying the death penalty and that Canada will do all it can to intervene on Schellenberg’s behalf.

Canada’s federal government intercedes on behalf of any Canadian facing execution abroad, Trudeau said in Ottawa.

“This is very much a concern to see that China is acting arbitrarily and applying the death penalty to a Canadian,” he said, adding the government “will continue to talk to our allies and to China about this.”

READ MORE: China demands Canada release Huawei executive arrested in Vancouver

Hua’s comments add to increasingly strained relations between the two countries since Canada detained Meng on Dec. 1, followed soon after by China’s detention of Canadians Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and entrepreneur Michael Spavor on allegations they were undermining national security.

And rights organizations said it raises serious questions about possible political interference in China.

The Chinese media began publicizing Schellenberg’s case after Canada detained Meng, who faces extradition to the U.S. on fraud charges.

Schellenberg’s aunt, Lauri Nelson-Jones, said the family is awaiting any news regarding an appeal.

“All I can really say at this moment is, it is our worst case fear confirmed. Our thoughts are with Robert at this time,” she said in an email to The Canadian Press. “It is rather unimaginable what he must be feeling and thinking. It is a horrific, unfortunate, heartbreaking situation.”

Canada updated its travel advice on Monday for citizens visiting China, the first change since before tensions between the countries increased last month.

Global Affairs says on its website that Canadians are still advised to “exercise a high degree of caution” when visiting China — which is unchanged — but it now explains the warning is “due to the risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws.” It also now warns of the death penalty, as well as penalties for drug-related offences.

Schellenberg’s lawyer, Zhang Dongshuo, said his client has 10 days to contest the latest sentence.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

North Island Eagles minor rep ockey organization hand out year-end awards in Port McNeill

It was quite the season and then some for minor rep hockey here in the North Island.

North Island resident to campaign on climate, economy for Liberal Party seat in Ottawa

Peter Schwarzhoff joins race for the second time in North Island-Powell River riding

Press release: Port Alice Health Centre service model announced

“a sustainable and dependable model of health care service delivery in Port Alice is a priority”

First annual Pride Day coming to Port Hardy in August

Pride contributes to a more inclusive and safe community for LGBTQ+ identifying individuals.

Blaney plan helps seniors late with taxes

Simple solution to important issue: North Island-Powell River MP

UPDATE: B.C. pilot killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

RCMP arrest violent offender on Vancouver Island

Police struggle with suspect and take him down with a taser

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Most Read