China’s foreign ministry on Tuesday issued a stern rebuke to Justin Trudeau, telling Canada to stop making “irresponsible remarks” after the prime minister critcised the death sentence handed to a Canadian citizen.
Mr Trudeau said on Monday it was of “extreme concern” that China chose to “arbitrarily apply the death penalty.” Canada also updated a travel advisory, saying citizens should “exercise a high degree of caution in China due to the risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws.”
The remarks from Mr Trudeau came after a Chinese court increased Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg’s 15-year prison sentence to the death penalty on drug trafficking charges when he appealed the original verdict, handed down in November.
A judge in Dalian, a coastal city, determined Schellenberg played a “key part” in a plan to send 222 kilogrammes of methamphetamine to Australia.
The case has escalated tensions between Canada and China after Meng Wanzhou, a top executive from Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, was arrested in December in Vancouver on a US extradition request related to Iran sanctions violations.
China condemned Mr Trudeau’s comments, expressing “strong dissatisfaction,” said Hua Chunying, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “We urge Canada to respect the rule of law, respect China’s judicial sovereignty, correct its mistakes, and stop publishing irresponsible remarks.”