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Trudeau reaches out to Ardern over China

Trudeau reaches out to Ardern over China

Schellenberg was sentenced to death Monday, following a second trial in China for being an accessory to drug smuggling.

But Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying denied Beijing had politicised Schellenberg's case, calling on Canada to "respect China's judicial sovereignty... and stop making such irresponsible remarks".

"It's normal to have problems but we should also remember that the links between our two countries are very big", she told a televised news conference in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, adding Canada had been in touch with Beijing at a number of levels. It has demanded her release, warning Canada of severe consequences if it fails to do so.

Then authorities revisited the little-known case of Schellenberg, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison in November for drug offences.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accused China of acting "arbitrarily" by imposing a death sentence on Schellenberg and has vowed that Canada will do all it can to intervene on his behalf.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland conferred Tuesday and "expressed their concerns about the arbitrary detentions and politically motivated sentencing of Canadian nationals", U.S. deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement Wednesday.

Canada later updated its travel advisory for China, urging Canadians to "exercise a high degree of caution due to the risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws".

The Chinese government is urging citizens to "fully assess the risks of going to Canada for tourism" as diplomatic tensions between the two countries continue to escalate.

"It was a very emotional conversation", she says. Canadian officials and his family are now scrambling to appeal the death sentence.




Zhang said there was insufficient evidence to prove Schellenberg was part of a drug syndicate, or that he was involved in the smuggling of methamphetamines.

The United States has denounced a death sentence imposed on a British Columbia man in China as "politically motivated", adding heft to Ottawa's effort to intensify global pressure on Beijing to spare his life and to release two other detained Canadians.

Schellenberg was arrested in 2014.

The pair discussed the legal treatment and detention of Canadian citizens in China, and the extradition case of a Huawei executive in Canada, according to Trudeau's office.

Asked about the case, the United Nations noted its opposition to the death penalty apart from exceptional circumstances.

Trudeau has called several world leaders in recent days to share concerns about the case of Schellenberg and two Canadians that Beijing detained last month after a senior Chinese executive was arrested in Vancouver on a us arrest warrant.

Rights groups condemned the Schellenberg sentence while Guy St-Jacques, who was Canada's ambassador in Beijing when Kovrig worked there, expressed concern at how quickly the courts had acted.

"I can very clearly state that we are not anxious in the slightest", Hua said of the mounting outcry, adding that a majority of Chinese supported severe punishment for drug crimes.

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