A disturbing story coming out of China could put a strain on international relations.
Maya Wang, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch China, tells CNN that it is no surprise China gives harsh sentences for drug related crimes, but when it comes to Westerners, the regime has been known to take a softer stance so as to not upset diplomatic relations internationally.
That does not appear to be the stance China is taking with Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, who was given a death sentence for his involvement in an attempt to smuggle Methamphetamine out of China and into Australia. Initially, Schellenberg was sentenced to 15 years, for which China is in line with a lessor penalty, but the Canadian appealed the decision and ended up being sentenced to death instead.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken out about the harsh sentence calling it "arbitrary" and "extremely concerning."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called China's decision — to sentence Canadian citizen Robert Lloyd Schellenberg to d… https://t.co/rLtTE8RAjc— Globalnews.ca (@Globalnews.ca)1547480811.0
Wall Street Journal China politics reporter, Eva Dou, took to Twitter to break down the events of the story.
Canadian Robert Schellenberg stood in a Chinese court in a wrinkled white sweatshirt as he was given the death pena… https://t.co/qKlDSC4G6W— Eva Dou (@Eva Dou)1547488985.0
The 222kg of meth never left Dalian, as Xu blew the whistle to the cops. He looks to have gained immunity in exchan… https://t.co/WLizDNMecd— Eva Dou (@Eva Dou)1547489127.0
Despite the dozens of arguments presented by each side, and painstaking cross-examinations, objections, and counter… https://t.co/UUybYXVvvu— Eva Dou (@Eva Dou)1547489717.0
For English-Chinese interpretation, there were two language professors (PhDs) taking turns. We were told it was in… https://t.co/dmfytNKfqC— Eva Dou (@Eva Dou)1547489760.0
Tried asking people in the audience where they were from and why they'd come to the trial. Most wouldn't answer. Do… https://t.co/xbbL6joc0h— Eva Dou (@Eva Dou)1547490153.0
The three judges took one hr to deliberate over 10 hrs of proceedings and supplemental statements. That's not much… https://t.co/iWTTdrsYU7— Eva Dou (@Eva Dou)1547489025.0
Schellenberg and his former friend Xu Qing each accused the other of buying drug-repacking tools and tires for hidi… https://t.co/PRh5Iez3JR— Eva Dou (@Eva Dou)1547489053.0
Prosecutors showed a surveillance footage still of the two buying tools together. (For those curious, drug-repackin… https://t.co/3022R1aEpS— Eva Dou (@Eva Dou)1547489114.0
The main new evidence was Xu's testimony and a call log from Schellenberg's phone to a man named Mai Qingxiang, who… https://t.co/UWe7xVt2U7— Eva Dou (@Eva Dou)1547489191.0
Xu's appearance in court was a surprise, as he didn't appear at the first trial or appeal hearing. He was the sole… https://t.co/n9Dimlh5CS— Eva Dou (@Eva Dou)1547489233.0
The reactions to the story are certainly mixed.
@evadou I’m pro death penalty for heinous crimes like murder or rape of child. But drug trafficking? There is obv… https://t.co/tmRuryJS2M— tonya david (@tonya david)1547521917.0
@evadou @ConnellyAL Despite any argument about the original crime, he's just been found guilty of being Canadian. Simple as that.— Matt (@Matt)1547542317.0
@evadou These drugs are killing our loved ones and Vancouver is full of filth from China selling fentanyl, so the… https://t.co/JkSy1ZU5ZS— My Kaleidoscope Life (@My Kaleidoscope Life)1547552222.0
@globalnews @GlobalBC Do the crime. Do the time!— backhoe guy🇨🇦 (@backhoe guy🇨🇦)1547481376.0
@globalnews @globalnewsto Canada can’t force moral ethics on other countries. Cause we don’t believe death penalty,… https://t.co/eH5nYCWZUz— Mark (@Mark)1547555799.0
@globalnews He was smuggling drugs in China..Should pay the price and every country had their own justice system or… https://t.co/3WxhcRAA9F— stephanie (@stephanie)1547518460.0
We foresee this debate raging on for sometime.