The simmering feud between Ottawa and Beijing that erupted after Canadian authorities arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou may have disappeared from the headlines...but it's far from over. To wit, on Tuesday, the Jiangmen Intermediate People’s Court sentenced another Canadian to death on drug trafficking charges, making him the second Canadian national to receive a death sentenced in the past year.
According to the Globe and Mail, the Chinese court, in Guangdong province, accused Fan of leading what it called the "extraordinarily serious transnational trafficking and manufacturing of narcotics." The case dates back to 2012.
In January, Canadian Robert Schellenberg saw his sentence of 15 years hard labor on drug trafficking charges switched to a death sentence (China frequently sentences convicted drug traffickers to death). Both Schellenberg and Fan Wei, the Canadian sentenced on Tuesday, were convicted of trafficking methamphetamine.
The court sentenced another conspirator to death, but it didn't disclose his nationality. Several others, including American Mark Swiden and four Mexicans, were also sentenced on drug charges Tuesday. Swiden was given a suspended death sentence, an effective life sentence, but the sentences for the others weren't disclosed - though the court said the minimum sentence was life imprisonment, according to Reuters.
Between July and November of 2012, the court said, the group manufactured 63.83 kilograms of methamphetamine and 365.9 grams of dimethyl amphetamine. However, most of the details on the case available in the West have come through Swiden's family, who have proclaimed his innocence. The businessman was arrested despite the fact that no drugs were found on him or in his hotel room; police said they found drugs on an interpreter, who implicated Swiden in the scheme.
Following Meng's arrest in Vancouver on Dec. 1, Chinese police arrested two other Canadian nationals, including a former diplomat and a businessman who organized trips to North Korea, and is charging them with threatening national security. Both men remain in custody even as Ottawa has demanded their release.
Meng, who is currently out on bail in Vancouver, has denied allegations that she misled banks about Huawei's business in Iran, violating US sanctions. President Trump once said that Meng's case could be used as a "bargaining chip" in trade negotiations.
China, which through its English-language press had threatened "severe" retaliation against Canada for the arrest of Meng, who in addition to being Huawei's CFO is also the daughter of its founder, a Chinese business luminary, has also apparently retaliated against Canada by cancelling Richardson International's license to ship canola to China.
China has previously executed at least two Canadian citizens for drug crimes.