China has sentenced a third Canadian citizen to death on drug charges amid a steep decline in relations between the two countries. The Guangzhou Municipal Intermediate Court announced Xu Weihong's penalty on Thursday and said an alleged accomplice, Wen Guanxiong, had been given a life sentence, per the AP. Death sentences are automatically referred to China's highest court for review. The brief court statement gave no details, but local media in the southern Chinese city at the heart of the country's manufacturing industry said Xu and Wen had gathered ingredients and tools and began making the drug ketamine in October 2016, then stored the final product in Xu's home in Guangzhou's Haizhu district. Police later confiscated more than 266 pounds of the drug from Xu's home and another address, the reports said.
Relations between China and Canada soured over the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, an executive and the daughter of the founder of Chinese tech giant Huawei, at Vancouver's airport in late 2018. The US wants her extradited to face fraud charges over the company's dealings with Iran. In apparent retaliation, China accused two Canadians of vague national security crimes. It then handed a death sentence to convicted Canadian drug smuggler Robert Schellenberg in a sudden retrial, and in April 2019, gave the death penalty to Canadian Fan Wei in a drug smuggling case. Chinese foreign ministry rep Wang Wenbin stressed Thursday that there was no connection between Xu's sentencing and current China-Canada relations. "China's judicial authorities handle the relevant case independently in strict accordance with Chinese law and legal procedures," he said.
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