Beijing – China on Tuesday blasted Canada for “irresponsible” remarks after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the country of “arbitrarily” sentencing a Canadian to death for drug smuggling, aggravating already icy relations.
Beijing and Ottawa have been at odds since early December, when Canadian police arrested Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL].
China, days later, detained two Canadians on suspicion of endangering state security, former diplomat Michael Kovrig and business consultant Michael Spavor.
Monday’s death sentence by a Chinese court on Canadian Robert Schellenberg for allegedly smuggling 222 kg of methamphetamines has become the latest strain on ties.
Trudeau said it should be of “extreme concern” to Canada’s friends and allies as it was to Canada’s government, that China had chosen to “arbitrarily apply” the death penalty.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with the comments at a regular news briefing.
“The remarks by the relevant Canadian person lacks the most basic awareness of the legal system,” Hua said.
She also took Canada to task for issuing an updated travel advisory for China, warning its citizens about the risk of arbitrary enforcement of laws in the country.
Hua said that Canada should instead remind its people to not engage in drug smuggling in China.
“We urge the Canadian side to respect the rule of law, respect China’s legal sovereignty, correct its mistakes, and stop making irresponsible remarks,” Hua said.