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Canada 'profoundly concerned' over Chinese death sentence for citizen in drug case

A security officer wearing a face mask to help protect against the coronavirus gestures outside the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, Thursday, Aug. 6, 2020. China has sentenced a Canadian citizen to death on charges of manufacturing the drug ketamine amid heightened tension between the two countries. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

OTTAWA — A spokesman for the federal government says Canada is “profoundly concerned” about a Canadian citizen sentenced to death on drug charges in China.

The Guangzhou Municipal Intermediate Court announced Xu Weihong’s penalty today and said an alleged accomplice, Wen Guanxiong, had been given a life sentence.

The brief court statement gave no details but local media said Xu and Wen had gathered ingredients and tools and began making the drug ketamine in October 2016, then stored the final product in Xu’s home in Guangzhou’s Haizhu district.

Police later confiscated more than 120 kilograms of the drug from Xu’s home and another address, the reports said.

A statement from Global Affairs Canada spokesman John Babcock says Canada opposes the death penalty in all cases and is seeking clemency.

A House of Commons committee is meeting this afternoon to examine Canada’s relations with China, which have gone sour since Canada arrested high-tech executive Meng Wanzhou in late 2018 on a U.S. extradition warrant.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 6, 2020.

— With files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press