A Chinese court has sentenced a Canadian man to death for drug smuggling, which will aggravate sour relations between Beijing and Ottawa following the arrest of a senior Chinese executive in Canada.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the decision. "It is of extreme concern to us as a government, as it should be to all our international friends and allies, that China has chosen to begin to arbitrarily apply [the] death penalty," he said.
The Dalian Intermediate People's Court in the northeast province of Liaoning re-tried Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, who had appealed against his original 15-year sentence, and decided on execution, the court stated.
The ruling will further strain the tense relationship following the arrest last month in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd at the request of the United States.
China denounced her arrest, warning of unspecified consequences unless she was released. Two Canadians have been detained on suspicion of endangering state security.
William Nee, a Hong Kong-based China researcher with Amnesty International, said it was "horrified".
Schellenberg was told he had the right to appeal within 10 days.
Drug smuggling is routinely punished severely in China. Beijing has executed foreign nationals convicted of drug-related crimes - a Briton caught smuggling heroin was executed in 2009, prompting a British outcry over what it said was the lack of any mental health assessment.