China accuses Justin Trudeau of ‘irresponsible remarks’ as Canada imposes travel warning in dispute over death sentence

China accuses Justin Trudeau of 'irresponsible remarks' as Canada imposes travel warning in dispute over death sentence

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.”

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