International relations, especially right now, can be tense. Most recently, a Canadian was sentenced to death in China. This follows a back and forth between the two countries who have both placed citizens from the other nation under arrest.

Xu Weihong was handed the penalty on August 6, according to a report from the Associated Press. The sentence will be reviewed by China's highest court.

AP cites local Chinese media as saying that Xu, along with accomplice Wen Guanxiong (who was given a life sentence by the court), had started to gather materials used in the manufacture of ketamine back in October 2016. 

The pair then reportedly stored the drugs at Xu's home, as well as a second address. Police found 266 pounds of the substance during a search.

Ketamine is an anesthetic and painkiller that is often used for veterinary surgery but is also illegally sold on the streets.

In an email to Narcity, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada said, "Canada is profoundly concerned that China has chosen to apply the death penalty to Mr. Xu."

"Canada opposes the use of the death penalty in all cases, everywhere. Canada has consistently raised our firm opposition to the death penalty with China, and will continue to do so."

The spokesperson also noted that Global Affairs Canada is providing consular assistance to Xu and his family.

"Canada requests clemency for all Canadian citizens who have been sentenced to death, and calls on China to grant clemency to Mr. Xu."*

Xu is the third Canadian citizen to be given a death sentence in China, according to AP. 

Robert Schellenberg, a convicted drug smuggler, was originally sentenced to 15 years in December 2018, according to BBC News.

However, after a retrial came to a close in January 2019, he was handed the death penalty.

In April that same year, another Canadian citizen, whose name was translated as Fan Wei, also received the same sentence for involvement with drugs.

Both of these came after the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Canada, which increased tensions between the two countries.

China has also detained two other Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, on charges of espionage.

The country has indicated that if Canada were to free Meng, then the two Michaels (as they've come to be known) could also be freed.

However, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected this idea, saying, "If countries around the world, including China, realize that by arbitrarily arresting random Canadians they can get what they want out of Canada politically, well, that makes an awful lot more Canadians who travel around the world vulnerable to that kind of pressure."

*Editor's note: This story has been updated.

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