Canadian citizen retried in Chinese court amidst growing bilateral spat with Canada

Canadian citizen retried in Chinese court amidst growing bilateral spat with Canada

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, a Canadian citizen accused of drug trafficking in China, will face the courts in the Liaoning province

chinese detain canadian former diplomat

Photo: Richard Sharrocks/Getty Images

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, a Canadian citizen accused of drug trafficking in China, will face the courts in the Liaoning province today amid a diplomatic spat between Ottawa and Beijing.

Although already handed down a sentence of 15 years, Chinese authorities chose to retry Mr Schellenberg for harsher punishment. This decision came closely after Canada arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou for allegedly violating US sanctions on Iran. Canadian officials must now decide whether to extradite Ms Meng to the US—an outcome that China will attempt to leverage against through Mr Schellenberg’s fate.

Mr Schellenberg has the potential to be given the death sentence today, a punishment likely to outrage Canadians and heighten tensions. Regardless, expect Ms Meng to be extradited due to strong US-Canadian ties and a growing call to hold Beijing accountable.

Indeed, Canada seems to be intent on taking a stance againstthose who don’t follow international norms—first with Saudi Arabia and now Huawei. As such, pressure from Ottawa is unlikely to let up. If tensions escalate, expect free trade agreement negotiations between Canada and China to ceaseand relations to potentially be frozen, alongside increased pressure from Canadian allies—namely the US and UK.

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