World

Canadian set for drug-smuggling trial in China

A court in China says a Canadian citizen will stand trial on drug-smuggling charges this weekend, a case announced amid already strained relations between the two countries.

Robert Lloyd Schellenberg scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 29

The symbol of the Supreme People's Court of China is seen on Dec. 20 at a court museum in Beijing. A notice posted on Wednesday said Canadian national Robert Lloyd Schellenberg will appear in court on Dec. 29 to face drug-smuggling charges. (Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)

A court in China said Wednesday that a Canadian citizen will stand trial on drug-smuggling charges this weekend, a case announced amid already strained relations between the two countries. 

A notice posted by the Supreme People's Court of China said Robert Lloyd Schellenberg will appear in court in the northeastern province of Liaoning on Dec. 29.

In their reporting of the arrest, some Chinese media referenced the detentions of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig — both being held in China and accused of engaging in "activities undermining China's national security."

But a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada said in a statement Thursday that Canadian officials have been following Schellenberg's case "for several years" and have been providing consular assistance since he was first detained. 

Earlier, a Canadian government source told CBC that the pending court hearing is an appeal for a previous conviction, and noted Schellenberg was not recently arrested, as suggested by Chinese media.

Canadian analysts and former diplomats believe the arrests of Spavor and Kovrig are in retaliation for the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, a top executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, in Vancouver on Dec. 1 at the request of the U.S. She is accused of violating international sanctions against Iran.

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