SEVERE WX : Excessive Heat Warning - Red Flag Warning - Fire Weather Watch View Alerts

Canadian's death sentence will backfire on Beijing

The death sentence imposed on Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg by the Dalian Intermediate People's Court i...

Posted: Jan 15, 2019 7:41 PM
Updated: Jan 15, 2019 7:41 PM

The death sentence imposed on Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg by the Dalian Intermediate People's Court in north-eastern China is an immense blow for the convicted drug smuggler and his family. China argues it is a simple matter of sentencing a felon according to the Chinese code.

But for the rest of the world, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the decision is far more sinister. Following the arrest of Huawei's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in late 2018, Chinese state media warned Canada that Beijing may "take revenge" if she is extradited to the US.

Asia

Beijing

Canada

Capital punishment

China

Companies

Continents and regions

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Criminal law

East Asia

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd

Justin Trudeau

Law and legal system

North America

Political Figures - Intl

Societal issues

Society

The Americas

Schellenberg's death sentence, along with the detainment of two Canadians on suspicion of "activities that endangered China's national security," appears to confirm this theory.

Schellenberg's plight will backfire on Beijing, however. On the defensive over many issues, China needs to win more hearts and minds. Instead, the ruling will only push away friendly countries and stiffen the unity and resolve of those voicing deep concerns with Chinese actions.

China is a growing but lonely rising power and is widely distrusted. It has few enduring allies and supporters. It could be bad faith or bad timing. But sentencing a Canadian to death has only raised collective suspicion and deepened its isolation.

Consider the serious road bumps many countries have had with Beijing in recent years. It is enduring a serious and deepening trade war with the United States on a wide-range of complaints over China's trade practices.

Washington claims Beijing seeks to dominate the most important and high-technology sectors of the future through unfair advantages given to its state-owned companies and other national champions.

It also alleges that Chinese state actors conduct and enable the theft of trillions of dollars in intellectual property from American and other advanced economy firms.

The European Union and Japan have expressed similar concerns, especially with respect to intellectual property theft.

Numerous countries have expressed concerns with President Xi Jinping's flagship Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). An increasing number of experts and diplomats accuse the BRI of imposing "debt traps" on vulnerable economies.

They point to countries such as Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia and Djibouti as examples of these countries forced to concede aspects of their sovereign decision making to China once they become incapable of paying back the exorbitant loans.

Then there are other once friendly countries which have felt China's economic wrath after making sovereign political or strategic decisions which displease Beijing.

"Unofficial" economic sanctions against South Korea were applied by Beijing after Seoul made the decision to install the American THAAD anti-missile defense system in the face of North Korea provocations, resulting in a sharp drop in Chinese tourists and difficulties for South Korean firms operating inside China.

In late 2017, relations between Australia and China grew frosty, after Canberra announced multiple new laws aimed at tightening the country's security and electoral processes, including a ban on foreign donations, a move widely seen as attempting to curtail the influence of China. The following year, reports surfaced that Australian ministers had been refused Chinese visas.

The underlying takeaway in all these examples are that the reach of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is far and deep and its political objectives prevail above all other considerations.

Economic and other activities conducted by Chinese entities and individuals can never be taken at face value because they can be compelled to serve the demands of the Party. Despite almost four decades of reform, the hand of the Party on all tools of national power is as strong as ever.

Given this, the burden of proof falls upon China to dispel the argument that Schellenberg's fate is tied to that of whether Meng is extradited to America to face trial -- with the guilt or severity of the crime only a secondary consideration.

If China cannot discharge that burden, the perceived link between Schellenberg's sentence to Meng's fate will only strengthen the case made by Western intelligence agencies that Huawei is not an ordinary private company, that Huawei receives special support from and protection by the CCP. Patronage is never free in authoritarian politics and the case will only grow that Huawei advances Party and state objectives in return.

Indeed, the death sentence only increases the likelihood that Huawei will be increasingly locked out of the Five Eyes economies -- the US, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand -- including the roll-out of their 5G networks. That would be pivotal. Japan would certainly follow, and perhaps the EU.

The arrest of a Huawei employee in Poland over charges he was spying for the Chinese government won't help dispel these beliefs either.

The targeting of Canada is particularly counter-productive for China. Previously, the Trudeau government was accused by conservative opponents of being too light and soft a touch on China.

This even included accusations that Ottawa had become naïve when it came to national security matters and the sale of technology to China. Ongoing tensions between Donald Trump and Trudeau over issues such as trade would have delighted Beijing.

The American and Canadian leaders are still unlikely to become close friends. But China can no longer plan for Ottawa being the weak link amongst the Five Eyes when it comes to criticizing Chinese policies. It is now politically difficult for Trudeau to argue the case for a softer approach.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 217690

Reported Deaths: 2849
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah41633618
Washington27703258
Marion24391330
Clackamas19818241
Lane14732174
Jackson12414153
Deschutes1049387
Umatilla939694
Linn620281
Yamhill504281
Klamath492479
Douglas440787
Polk426957
Josephine410075
Malheur365967
Benton343622
Jefferson248942
Coos228439
Columbia207632
Union164924
Lincoln153122
Wasco151931
Crook138524
Hood River125534
Morrow121717
Clatsop114510
Baker108217
Curry76812
Tillamook7415
Grant5597
Lake4878
Harney45511
Wallowa2256
Gilliam851
Sherman812
Wheeler381
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3935590

Reported Deaths: 64341
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles129039524658
Riverside3068364659
San Bernardino3058275236
San Diego2941763798
Orange2812285143
Santa Clara1228212099
Sacramento1146521775
Kern1129331420
Fresno1042881746
Alameda955391280
Ventura835231043
San Joaquin769151460
Contra Costa75842830
Stanislaus655371088
Tulare50324854
Monterey44438526
San Mateo44378588
San Francisco39939563
Solano35703261
Santa Barbara35546467
Merced32961484
Sonoma32526329
Imperial29048745
Placer24955307
Kings23566250
San Luis Obispo21970265
Madera16998249
Santa Cruz16532207
Marin14791239
Yolo14759215
Butte13176205
Shasta12925242
El Dorado11010120
Napa1040084
Sutter10126115
Yuba694951
San Benito626363
Lassen587626
Tehama583666
Nevada532475
Humboldt501053
Mendocino465851
Tuolumne446173
Lake415765
Amador386148
Siskiyou255440
Glenn246027
Colusa235718
Calaveras229558
Del Norte16128
Inyo145338
Mono13195
Plumas7656
Modoc5737
Mariposa4977
Trinity4596
Sierra1260
Alpine890
Unassigned530
Medford
Clear
87° wxIcon
Hi: 99° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 86°
Brookings
Clear
71° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 71°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
87° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 86°
Grants Pass
Clear
87° wxIcon
Hi: 106° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 86°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
85° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 82°
Building heat and thunderstorms late week
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events