China's decision to upgrade the punishment for Canadian national Robert Lloyd Schellenberg has nothing to do with the detention of Huawei's top financial officer Meng Wanzhou in Canada, says Tom McGregor, a Beijing-based political analyst, senior editor and commentator for China's national broadcaster CCTV, while suggesting that Schellenberg may escape death if Ottawa frees Meng.
"Not at all, just a case of coincidental timing", McGregor told Sputnik, refuting Western MSM claims that Beijing toughened its stance toward the Canadian in retaliation to the Huawei senior executive's arrest. "The Chinese are getting very angry that the Chinese court system showing too much leniency towards criminals. Here's a case of a man convicted of smuggling over 200 kg of amphetamines and he only has to serve 15 years in prison."
However, two months ago, the same Chinese court had sentenced Schellenberg to 15 years in prison.
According to the CCTV editor, in the eyes of the Chinese, Schellenberg is "a criminal who was a major player in an international drug syndicate linked to drug gangs in Australia and he had utilised his 'white privilege' card to win a reduced sentence".
"And despite the overwhelming evidence arrayed against him, he still proclaimed his innocence and even issued a statement to the public saying he was never involved in the drug trade. Yet, he had also been arrested in Vancouver on related drug charges, so it seems that he still has not taken responsibility over his prior misdeeds," McGregor said.
Make no mistake, McGregor pointed out, "Schellenberg deserves the death penalty under the rule of law in China".
At the same time, the journalist suggested that the Canadian national, whom he dubbed "El Chapo of China", knew that if found guilty of his crimes, he could be penalised with the death sentence.
According to the Beijing-based political analyst, "many ordinary Chinese citizens hope that the country's government goes ahead and executes him". To add insult to injury, the Chinese are irritated by Canada's arrest of Meng in Vancouver on 1 December at the request of US law enforcement officials.
"Many Chinese are angry at [Justin] Trudeau, so they want the Canadian prime minister to suffer the political consequences of his schemes to have Huawei's Meng Wanzhou arrested," he noted, adding that from the Chinese standpoint the 36-year-old deserves no mercy.
Given all of the above, it is highly unlikely that Beijing will succumb to international pressure and change its mind with regard to the Canadian's fate, according to the analyst.
Still McGregor believes that "the only way Schellenberg can escape the death penalty is if Canada frees Meng and allows her to return to China with her Chinese passport in hand".
"Let's see what decision Trudeau makes in the next few days, but he better act fast; according to Chinese law Schellenberg could be executed in less than seven days from now," he stressed.
Why China's Drug Laws are So Tough
The political analyst admitted that the People's Republic's drug laws are really tough, adding that Beijing has good reason for that.
"The south-western part of China lies near what is known as the 'Golden Triangle' — Myanmar, Thailand and Afghanistan, where opium growers and dealers are running rampant," he pointed out.
"China's drug laws are so tough, because the same laws are enforced in Singapore and have been very effective at transforming the city-state from being a hub for triads and international drug syndicates, and now Singapore has cleaned up and emerged as one of the cleanest and least corrupt sovereign governments in our world," the journalist elaborated.
McGregor noted that as a result, the crime rates are low in Singapore and "public safety and security are top notch there".
"Hence, China has witnessed that and hopes to achieve similar results", he said, adding that therefore "in 2014 and 2015, China's president had launched a nationwide crackdown on the scourge of drugs with massive sweeps of illicit drug dens".
The views and opinions expressed by the contributors do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.