At least two Canadian citizens have been sentenced to death after they were convicted of manufacturing and transporting drugs. Ye Jianhui and Lu Hanchang are accused of being involved in a criminal trafficking network, that operated between May 2015 and January 2016. Chinese police found 480 pounds of amphetamine at a property that was connected with the defendants.
Four other suspects were also charged in connection with the bust, but they are facing different sentences, ranging from seven years to life in prison.
Xu Weihong, another Canadian citizen, was also sentenced to death for drug offenses last week, although his charges are believed to be from a separate incident. He was arrested in October of 2016 for purchasing raw materials and tools intended to produce the drug ketamine. In a raid on his home, police found 264 pounds of ketamine.
Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign affairs responded to the harsh sentences, saying that they are needed to deter criminals, and will be applied to foreign nationals operating in the country.
Wang said he did not expect the ruling to have “any effect on China-Canada relations,” according to CNN.
However, relations between China and Canada are very shaky right now, with citizens getting arrested in both countries.
In Canada, Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was recently arrested on behalf of the United States, sparking outrage among Chinese authorities. Meanwhile, China has imprisoned two other Canadian citizens, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, for allegedly being spies.
It is actually not an unusual occurrence for the Chinese government to charge foreign nationals with crimes that result in death penalties. Last year, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg was sentenced to death in China for drug smuggling. Another Canadian citizen, Fan Wei, was also sentenced to death for producing and trafficking a large amount of methamphetamine last year.
The Canadian government is hoping that the Chinese government will grant clemency to Xu Weihong.
Canada is profoundly concerned that China has chosen to apply the death penalty to Mr. Xu. Canada opposes the use of the death penalty in all cases, everywhere,” said the statement. “Canada requests clemency for all Canadian citizens who have been sentenced to death, and calls on China to grant clemency to Mr. Xu, a statement from the Canadian government said on Friday.
Weeks ago, multiple Chinese consulate offices in the United States were forced to close after accusations of spying.
Investigators also believe that there is a massive effort on the part of the Chinese government to send people who are essentially spies into the United States to get information from universities, corporations and government agencies. US prosecutors are said to be investigating numerous others for lying about Chinese government connections on their visa applications.
The FBI file cited numerous cases of people who admitted to working undercover in the US on behalf of the Chinese government. In one of the cases cited, the Chinese government allegedly directed military scientists to destroy evidence, and then helped them leave the US before being forced to answer for their crimes.
The US government has now moved to close some Chinese consulate offices throughout the country. On July 21, US officials told China that it must close its Houston consulate within 72 hours. Oddly enough, a fire was reported at the building the next day.