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Federal government seeking clemency after Canadian sentenced to death in China

The Canadian government responded to the revelation, saying they are “profoundly concerned” about Xu Weihong's fate.

A Canadian citizen has been sentenced to death by Chinese authorities over alleged drug charges on Thursday. 

The death penalty was announced for Xu Weihong by the Guangzhou Municipal Intermediate Court on Thursday.

According to local media, police found 120 kilograms of ketamine at Xu’s residence and another address. He is alleged to have begun manufacturing the drug in October 2016. 

The Canadian government responded to the revelation, saying they are “profoundly concerned” about Xu’s fate. 

“Canada opposes the use of the death penalty in all cases, everywhere,” said John Babcock, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada.

“Canada has consistently raised our firm opposition to the death penalty with China and will continue to do so.”

The Canadian government has offered Xu consular access and is currently seeking clemency for his crimes as the death sentence is passed to a higher court for review.

The sentence comes on the heels of increasingly strained relations between China and Canada as a result of the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.

According to Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, Xu’s death sentence had no connection to the current dispute between the two countries. 

“I would like to stress that China’s judicial authorities handle the relevant case independently in strict accordance with Chinese law and legal procedures,” Wang said on Thursday. 

“This case should not inflict any impact on China-Canada relations.”

Two other Canadians have been sentenced to death in China in recent memory. In April 2019, Fan Wei was handed the sentence for his involvement in a drug-smuggling ring and Canadian Robert Schellenberg was also sentenced to death. 

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