Beijing on Tuesday slammed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for making “irresponsible remarks” after he criticized a Chinese court’s death sentence against a convicted Canadian drug smuggler.
Responding to Canada’s decision to update a travel advisory to warn citizens about the “risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws” in China, Hua said: “Canada should remind its own citizens to definitely not engage in drug smuggling in China”.
Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, 36, was given the death penalty on Monday after his previous 15-year prison sentence was deemed too lenient a ruling that came amid a deepening diplomatic rift between Ottawa and Beijing.
Trudeau expressed “extreme concern” on Monday, saying “China has chosen to arbitrarily apply death penalties in cases, as in this case facing a Canadian”.
“We urge the Canadian side to respect the rule of law, respect China’s judicial sovereignty, correct their mistakes, and stop making such irresponsible remarks,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a press briefing.
Hua also dismissed suggestions by human rights groups that Beijing had seized on the case to put pressure on Ottawa over Canada’s arrest of a top executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei in December.
“I think such remarks are malicious smearing and unwarranted accusations,” Hua said, adding that it is “extremely clear” which side is politicising judicial issues.
“China is safe, as long as the foreign citizens including Canadian citizens abide by China’s law and regulations,” she said.