China’s death sentence for Canadian was ‘politically motivated,’ U.S. says

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"We are deeply concerned with this case as we are in a consistent way wherever the death penalty is applied", Acting Foreign Minister Simon Birmingham told ABC Radio National on Wednesday.

'We believe it is inhumane and inappropriate, and wherever the death penalty is considered with regard to a Canadian we speak out against it, ' she said.

A statement released on Monday by the court in Liaoning province said that Schellenberg, along with others, took part in organized worldwide drug smuggling, which is a crime punishable by death in China.

China and Canada are embroiled in a worsening dispute, sparked by the arrest in Vancouver of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on a United States extradition request.

In a move observers see as retaliation over the Huawei case, Chinese authorities detained two other Canadian citizens - a former diplomat and a business consultant - on suspicion of endangering national security.

"Although the cases are a consular matter between Canada and China - as the extradition case relates to a Huawei executive in Canada - there are principles at stake that concern us all", the spokeswoman said.

China's foreign ministry blasted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's "irresponsible remarks" after he criticised the death sentence handed to 36-year-old Robert Lloyd Schellenberg.

"The remarks by the relevant Canadian person lack the most basic awareness of the legal system", Hua said.

Shortly after, the Canadian government updated its travel advisory for China, warning its citizens to "exercise a high degree of caution in China due to the risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws".

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Schellenberg, who claimed he was innocent and framed by an acquaintance, has 10 days to appeal to the same high court that rejected his first appeal.

It urged Chinese citizens to consider their personal circumstances and "fully assess the risks of going to Canada for tourism".

On Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Beijing "isn't anxious at all" about facing opposition from the global community, according to an English transcript of her remarks that was published on a Chinese government website.

"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.

Trudeau has reportedly spoken by phone with New Zealand, another Five Eyes intelligence partner which has a strong trading relationship with China, about the detained men.

Schellenberg had appealed against an original 15-year prison sentence issued in November, but the Dalian Intermediate People's Court in Liaoning province sided with prosecutors at the retrial that the punishment was too light. The Chinese media began republicizing Schellenberg's case after Meng's detention.

Freeland said she had "a very emotional conversation" with Schellenberg's father on Monday.

Hua dismissed such concerns, saying the 222 kilograms (489 pounds) of methamphetamine that Schellenberg was accused of smuggling merited the harsh penalty. Freeland thanked countries and organizations _ Germany, France, the Netherlands, the European Union, the United States, Britain, Australia, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia _ for "publicly coming out and speaking against these arbitrary detentions".

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