The Chinese government Thursday sentenced a Canadian citizen to death on drug crimes related to the production of ketamine.
The Guangzhou Municipal Intermediate Court found that Xu Weihong gathered materials for the production of ketamine and stored the substance in his home. His accomplice in the trial, Wen Guanxiong, allegedly helped produce the drug and was handed a life sentence by the court.
Ketamine is a substance that distorts one’s senses and perceptions. It is used for anesthesia purposes but is also used by some recreationally.
The Chinese government did not provide any further details from the conviction or trial.
Tensions between China and Canada escalated in 2018 after Meng Wanzhou, an executive of the Chinese tech company Huawei, was arrested at the Vancouver airport on a US warrant for allegedly engaging in fraud. China seemingly retaliated for Wanzhou’s arrest by sentencing Canadian citizens Robert Schellenberg and Fan Wei to death on alleged drug-related offenses.
The Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs responded to Thursday’s sentencing by declaring that “[Canada opposes] the death penalty at every step of the way” and that they “have said it time and time and time again to the Chinese government and will continue to do that.”
Imposing the death penalty for drug-related offenses is universally recognized as a violation of human rights law.