Beijing slams Canada, says ‘gang pressure’ on China will not succeed

BEIJING (AA): China on Thursday slammed Canada’s reaction to the sentencing of two Canadian citizens for spying and drug smuggling, saying “gang pressure” on Beijing “will never succeed in the future”.

Canada “ignores the facts, confuses right and wrong, and makes irresponsible remarks about the handling of cases by the relevant Chinese courts,” Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said in a statement.

“This has seriously violated China’s judicial sovereignty and violated the spirit of the rule of law,” she said, “strongly condemning” the Canadian actions.

A Chinese court last Wednesday sentenced Michael Spavor, a Canadian citizen, to 11 years in prison for spying.

“Gang attempts to put pressure on China failed in the past and will never succeed in the future. We urge relevant countries to show the spirit of the rule of law, respect China’s judicial sovereignty, and stop making irresponsible remarks,” said Hua.

Soon after Spavor’s sentence was pronounced, diplomats from several countries posted in Beijing expressed support for their Canadian counterparts, opposing the judgment.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the conviction and sentencing “absolutely unacceptable and unjust.”

“The verdict for Mr. Spavor comes after more than two and a half years of arbitrary detention, a lack of transparency in the legal process, and a trial that did not satisfy even the minimum standards required by international law,” he said in a statement.

Spavor was prosecuted for “crimes suspected of endangering China’s national security, and the case was heard in court in accordance with the law in March this year,” Hua said.

Another Chinese court upheld the death penalty in the case of Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, a Canadian charged with drug smuggling.

The US, Germany and Japan have expressed support for Canada.

“The Canadian defendant Schellenberg participated in organized international drug trafficking activities and smuggled 222.035 kilograms of methamphetamine with others,” said the Chinese official.

“The legal rights of the two have been fully protected… China is a country under the rule of law. Regardless of the nationality of the offenders, the judicial organs strictly deal with them in accordance with the law and treat them equally, and any foreign identity is not a ‘talisman’,” said Hua.

She blamed Canada for politicizing the “legal issues.”

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi Thursday spoke to Canadian counterpart Marc Garneau about the issue and said: “I will follow the development of the case with great concern.”

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