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In China, the death sentence of Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg looks like a lot of retaliatory measures against Canada.
Mr. Schellenberg has proclaimed his innocence at a first trial, where he had been sentenced to fifteen years in prison for international trafficking of methamphétamines. The Court of Appeal of Dalian has increased his sentence because the prosecution presented a witness, who stated that Mr. Schellenberg was very involved in activities of drug trafficking. Normally, his sentence must be endorsed by the supreme Court of China, since it is a death sentence. However, one should not expect that the supreme Court reverse the decision of the Court of Appeal. This kind of reversal is extremely rare in China.
Subjected to torture
Mr. Schellenberg is perhaps guilty. He himself claims to have been a victim of a scam backed by drug traffickers. The guilt of Mr. Schellenberg is difficult to conclude with certainty, because in China, the trials are very to the point. In addition, the defendants are subject to forms of psychological torture and sophisticated. A few years ago, the ex-top chinese leaders, Bo Xilai, accused of corruption, had explained that he had signed a confession of guilt because it was useless to attempt to resist the psychological torture of the prison system chinese. He knew what he was talking about.
A clear message
The invitation to three foreign media to attend the trial and a harsher sentence underscores that the chinese government wants to send a message to Canada and the rest of the world. This message can be summarized thus : if you grant privileges for chinese nationals to trial in your country, we will also to foreign nationals on trial in China. Otherwise, you have to expect sentences of the greater hardness against your nationals.
Of course, such a proposal is completely unacceptable in countries such as Canada where the courts are separated from any direct political influence. It will, therefore, have no impact on the trial for the extradition of Ms. Meng, in the case of Huawei. But this proposal will be heard where the judicial systems are under the direct influence of political leaders, that is to say, in most of the countries of the planet.
This is only a taste of what that will look like a world increasingly dominated by China.