17:29 GMT09 July 2020
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    BEIJING (Sputnik) – Beijing pays little attention to foreign countries’ criticism of a Chinese court's decision to issue the death penalty for Canadian national Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Wednesday at a press briefing.

    "I can clearly say that we are absolutely not worried [about the international criticism]," Hua said.

    She also expressed surprise over the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s criticism, pointing out that Schellenberg wanted to deliver drugs to Australia.

    "I think that Canada has a few allies on the issue and they absolutely cannot represent the opinion of the entire international community. It seems to me that the international community has reached a consensus that such dangerous crimes as illegal drug trafficking must be strictly punished," Hua added.

    As the spokesperson explained, Beijing will not allow drug dealers from any country to endanger the lives and health of its citizens by smuggling narcotic substances within its borders.

    "If the fact that Schellenberg was sentenced to death for [attempting to smuggle] 222 kilograms [489 pounds] of drugs is inhuman and inappropriate. Is it humane and appropriate to allow even more people to die from these drugs?… Chinese people still remember the danger of drugs in the wake of 1840 [the beginning of the First Opium War between China and the British Empire], and China will not allow drug dealers from any country to harm the health and life of Chinese people again," Hua said at a briefing.

    She stressed that China would resolve such cases in accordance with the country's laws, adding that the criticism of its decisions was irrelevant.

    "If Schellenberg smuggled drugs to Canada, then China would not care how Canada deals with such cases, but the incident occurred in China, and therefore the case should be resolved in accordance with Chinese laws," she said.

    READ MORE: Ottawa Asks Beijing for Clemency for Canadian Citizen Sentenced to Death Penalty

    On Monday, a court in the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian sentenced Schellenberg to death for drug smuggling. The decision immediately faced sharp criticism not only from the Canadian leadership, but also the international community, particularly Australia, whose Foreign Ministry expressed deep concern over the court’s verdict.

    The Chinese authorities initially sentenced the Canadian citizen to 15 years in prison. However, in late December, an appeals court ordered a retrial, claiming that the initial punishment was too lenient. The defendant was told on Monday that he had 10 days to appeal the court's death sentence.

    READ MORE: Chinese Court Sentences Canadian to Death Over Drug Trafficking Case

    drug trafficking, death penalty, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, China, Canada
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