China to try Canadian on drugs charges: State media

Canada has pressed for the release of the two Canadians who China detained earlier this month while China has demanded Canada free Meng, who is fighting extradition to the United States.
Canada has pressed for the release of the two Canadians who China detained earlier this month while China has demanded Canada free Meng, who is fighting extradition to the United States.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING • A Chinese court will try a Canadian citizen on drugs charges tomorrow, a government-run news portal said, in a case that could further test already difficult relations between Beijing and Ottawa.

The two countries have sparred over the fate of two Canadian citizens who have been detained in China on suspicion of endangering state security, and over Canada's arrest of a high-ranking Chinese executive at the request of the United States.

The high court in the north-eastern province of Liaoning said on Wednesday that a man it identified as Robert Lloyd Schellenberg would be tried on drug smuggling charges in Dalian city tomorrow.

A Dalian government news portal said late on Wednesday that Schellenberg is a Canadian, and that this was an appeal hearing after he was found by an earlier ruling to have smuggled "an enormous amount of drugs" into China.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said she did not have a grasp on the situation, but added that China had repeatedly made clear to Ottawa its "solemn" stance regarding its relations with Canada.

Canada has pressed for the release of the two Canadians who China detained this month.

The two were detained after Canadian police arrested Huawei Technologies' chief financial officer, Ms Meng Wanzhou, on Dec 1.

 
 

Neither country has drawn a direct connection between the cases.

China has demanded that Canada free Ms Meng, who is fighting extradition to the US.

Canada arrested Ms Meng at the request of the US, which is engaged in a trade war with China. Ms Meng faces extradition to the US to face fraud charges that carry a maximum sentence of 30 years' jail for each charge.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 28, 2018, with the headline 'China to try Canadian on drugs charges: State media'. Print Edition | Subscribe