China court orders retrial for Canadian jailed for drug smuggling

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying addresses a press conference in Beijing Dec. 28 2018

She was the third Canadian to be detained by China since the December 1st arrest of Meng.

Chinese Foreign Ministry responded that China's justice department treats foreign drug traffickers equally and punishes them according to the law; the facts regarding the female drug trafficker have been proven and the amount of trafficked drugs is huge.

The two countries are in diplomatic dire straits after China detained two Canadians - former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and China-based businessman Michael Spavor - whom they accuse of engaging in activities that "endanger China's security".

As tension in the Canada-China relationship continues to simmer, Gordon Houlden, director of the the University of Alberta's China Institute, said things could be harder for Schellenberg and his legal team.

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Further testing tense relations, another Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, was due to appear before a court in China on drugs charges.

Mr. Kovrig is a Canadian diplomat on leave from the federal government.

According to previous reporting from Global News, McIver received an administrative penalty for illegal employment, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily news briefing.

But many observers believe it was retaliation following the early December arrest in Vancouver of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou.

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The Higher People's Court of the northeastern province of Liaoning says evidence showed it was possible Schellenberg played an "important role" as it ordered the court in the city of Dalian to try the case again.

Until the appeal hearing, it was unclear when Schellenberg had originally been convicted or what his sentence was, but on Saturday the court provided details of the first trial verdict from November.

Hua also added that the teacher's situation was different from the two other Canadian detainees.

China has demanded Canada free Meng, who is fighting extradition to the United States, where she would face fraud charges that carry a maximum sentence of 30 years jail for each charge.

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Rhona McIver said Sarah's mother and sister have driven to B.C.to pick her up.

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