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Canadian citizen is second in two days to be sentenced to death in China on drug charges

(CNN)A Canadian citizen in China has been sentenced to death for transporting and manufacturing illegal substances, a Chinese court announced Friday.

The Intermediate People's Court of Foshan City in Guangdong Province said Ye Jianhui was given the death sentence for "for the crime of transporting and manufacturing drugs," according to a court statement released on Friday.

Ye is the second Canadian national in two days to receive the death penalty for narcotics charges in China.

According to court documents, Ye and his associates were part of a criminal drug racket, operating from May 2015 to January 2016, that manufactured and intended to distribute a substantial amount of amphetamine.

Authorities seized 218 kilograms (480) pounds of amphetamine from a room the court said was used by the defendant. A smaller amount of the drug was seized in a bag and residence, the court statement said.

Another man, identified by the court as Lu Hanchang, was also sentenced to death for transporting and manufacturing illegal substances.

Four other defendants were given sentences ranging from life imprisonment to seven years for their role, according to court documents.

On Tuesday, another Canadian citizen, 45-year-old Xu Weihong, was sentenced to death for drug offenses, according to the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court.

A court statement said that Xu was handed the death penalty for "manufacturing drugs" after purchasing raw materials and tools intended to produce ketamine at his home in Guangzhou in October, 2016. Ketamine is a powerful medication used in hospitals primarily as an anesthetic, though it has also grown in popularity in recent decades as a recreational drug, especially in the club scene.

An associate, Wen Guanxiong, was sentenced to life imprisonment, according to court documents.

Public security officers said they seized 120 kilograms (264 pounds) of ketamine from their residences.

"China applies the death sentence with strict control," said Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign affairs responding to Xu's death sentence.

"Keeping the death sentence will deter serious criminals," Wang said on Thursday. "People are equal in front of the law and criminals of all nationalities in China are treated equally."

Wang said he did not expect the ruling to have "any effect on China-Canada relations."

The ruling comes amid rising tensions between Ottawa and Beijing over Canada's arrest of Huawei's Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on behalf of the United States, as well as China's subsequent detention of Canadian's Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor for alleged espionage.

Ye was the forth Canadian to be sentenced to death in China since 2019.

Early last year, China sentenced Robert Lloyd Schellenberg to death for drug smuggling. Later that year, another Canadian citizen, Fan Wei, was also sentenced to death for producing and trafficking a large amount of methamphetamine.

In a statement Friday, the Canadian government called on China to grant clemency to Xu Weihong, the Canadian citizen who was sentenced to death for manufacturing drugs.

"Canada is profoundly concerned that China has chosen to apply the death penalty to Mr. Xu. Canada opposes the use of the death penalty in all cases, everywhere," said the statement. "Canada requests clemency for all Canadian citizens who have been sentenced to death, and calls on China to grant clemency to Mr. Xu."

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