Reports have circulated that at least six foreigners have been charged and sentenced in China for their involvement in an international methamphetamine operation. One of those involved, a Canadian identified as Fan Wei - although it is not clear if this is the individual's legal name - has received the death penalty. This is the second Canadian to be given the death penalty in China in recent months.
11 individuals were sentenced by the Jiangmen Intermediate People's Court in southern Guangdong province, reports CTV News. Those who received sentences were found guilty of producing over 63 kilograms of methamphetamine, which is illegal in China.
One American and four Mexicans were among the individuals who received life sentences or death sentences suspended by a period of two years. The statement made by the court did not confirm which sentence was received by each person and did not release any of the individuals' full names.
Another individual identified as Wu Ziping, whose nationality was not specified, also was sentenced to death.
Fan Wei's death sentence is undeniably adding fuel to the already tense situation for Canada, as Sino-Canadian relations have been strained since Canada arrested Chinese tech executive Meng Wanzhou in December. China has retaliated by detaining two Canadians and delaying the import of Canadian products.
Chinese court statements explain that Fan Wei and Wu conspired to produce and sell drugs back in 2012, and recruited the other individuals involved as "drug-making technicians." From July to November of 2012, the group established a "den" to produce and sell over 63 kilograms of methamphetamine and 365.9 grams of dimethylamphetamine in Guangdong's Taishan city, CTV News reports.
In a similar case, Canadian Robert Lloyd Shellenberg received the death sentence in a Chinese court as the result of a sudden retrial back in January, just one month after two Canadians were detained by Chinese officials based on dubious allegations related to national security concerns. Both cases were internationally regarded as punishment for the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's Chief Financial Officer.
Two major Canadian canola exporters have had their licenses suspended by Chinese authorities after China claimed that inspectors discovered hazardous organisms in shipments of canola seed.