Trudeau called China’s death penalty for Canadian citizen ‘arbitrary’: surely he knows better
- In sentencing Robert Schellenberg to death shortly after the Huawei CFO’s arrest, China shows it knows the friend of a foe is a foe
Many have been riveted by the case of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’s arrest and detention in Canada. Clearly, the relationship between China and Canada has plunged to a historic low.
Then came the report of 36-year-old Canadian national Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, who was convicted of trying to smuggle about 222kg of methamphetamine from China to Australia. He had been initially sentenced, two months ago, to 15 years in jail. He appealed the sentence at the Liaoning High People’s Court, which concluded that the initial sentence was too light. A retrial in a lower court has put him on death row.
The Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, responded to the case by exclaiming the court acted arbitrarily in handing down the death penalty. He said the case should cause concern among “all our international friends and allies”. He is astute on this; friends of friends are friends, and friends of foes are foes.
But, as for his comment that China acted arbitrarily in the Schellenberg case, I – among many others – believe deep down that it’s only a gambit on a chessboard. Trudeau should know this too. Perhaps he pretended to not know.
Randy Lee, Ma On Shan