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Ottawa formally requests clemency for Canadian sentenced to death in China

Ottawa formally requests clemency for Canadian sentenced to death in China

Canada urged Beijing on Tuesday to grant clemency to a Canadian sentenced to death for drug trafficking, after his sentence reignited a diplomatic dispute that began last month.

On Wednesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Beijing "isn't anxious at all" about facing opposition from the worldwide community, according to an English transcript of her remarks that was published on a Chinese government website.

Last week, Poland arrested a Huawei director and one of its own former cybersecurity experts and charged them with spying for China.

China denied Ms Wanzhou was guilty and demanded she be released, saying otherwise "Canada must accept full responsibility for the serious consequences caused".

His original sentence was 15 years.

A Chinese court sentenced a Canadian man to death Monday in a sudden retrial in a drug smuggling case that is likely to escalate tensions between the countries over the arrest of a top Chinese technology executive.

The pair discussed the detention and legal treatment of Canadian citizens in China, as part of what appears to be a worldwide push by Trudeau to apply pressure on the People's Republic.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland conferred Tuesday and "expressed their concerns about the arbitrary detentions and politically motivated sentencing of Canadian nationals", U.S. deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement Wednesday.

Canada's foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland said on Tuesday: "It is a complicated and hard moment in our relationship with China".

Following Schellenberg's case, Canada issued a warning to its citizens travelling to China there could be a risk of "arbitrary enforcement" of laws.

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Beijing issued a similar response hours later, calling on Chinese citizens to "travel cautiously" after a Chinese citizen was "arbitrarily detained on the basis of a request of a third-party country", an apparent reference to Meng's arrest.

Freeland said she had "a very emotional conversation" with Schellenberg's father on Monday.

A lawyer for Schellenberg, Zhang Dongshuo, said his client would appeal.

"We expect at a level of principle that not only the death penalty should not be applied but also wherever people are in trouble the rule of law ought be applied fairly", he said.

Zhang said there was insufficient evidence to prove Schellenberg was part of a drug syndicate, or that he was involved in smuggling methamphetamines.

A senior Canadian government official said Chinese officials have been questioning Kovrig about his diplomatic work in China, which is a major reason why Trudeau is asserting diplomatic immunity.

China and Canada also toughened their respective travel advisories this week, delivering a blow to last year's bilateral effort to boost tourism between the two countries.

Asked about the case, the United Nations noted its opposition to the death penalty apart from exceptional circumstances.

Drug offences are routinely punished severely in China.

Chinese state media has played up coverage of Schellenberg's case following the deterioration in relations with Canada.