mid the ongoing dispute between Canada and China, a Canadian national will stand trial in Liaoning province on drug smuggling charges. He will likely face the death penalty.
In a short notice published on Wednesday, the Liaoning High People’s Court announced that it would be hearing the trial of Robert Lloyd Schellenberg on Saturday afternoon. It’s not known what drug or drugs Schellenberg is being accused of smuggling or the exact quantity, however, a government news portal reported that the Canadian had smuggled a “shocking amount” of drugs into China.
China is known for handing out harsh sentences for drug crimes including the death penalty when substantial amounts of illicit substances are involved. Foreigners have been executed before in China for drug smuggling including a Pakistani-British businessman in 2009 who some argued had been tricked into smuggling heroin.
In an unusual move, China’s propaganda office has invited foreign reporters to attend the hearing. Canada’s foreign affairs office has said that it has been monitoring Schellenberg’s case for “quite a while,” noting that he had been arrested several years ago.
His trial follows the arrests in China of two Canadian nationals, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, on suspicion of “engaging in activities harming China’s national security.” Many believe that the detainments come in retaliation to Canada’s arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou at the request of the United States on December 1st.