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2nd Canadian faces execution in China — a look at the country’s death penalty laws – National



2nd Canadian faces execution in China — a look at the country’s death penalty laws National


Another Canadian citizen has been handed the death penalty in China on drug charges, a Chinese court announced Tuesday.

The Canadian was among 11 people sentenced for conducting an international methamphetamine operation. The Canadian was identified as Fan Wei.

China sentences Canadian to death for international drug operation

“Canadian officials attended the April 30th, 2019, verdict and sentencing of Mr. Fan. We call on China to grant clemency. It is of extreme concern to our government that China has chosen to apply the death penalty, a cruel and inhumane punishment,” a Global Affairs spokesperson told Global News.

The verdict marks the second time a Canadian has been handed the death sentence in China in less than five months.

On Jan. 14, Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, originally sentenced in 2016 to a 15-year term for drug smuggling, had his sentence changed to the death penalty. He has appealed the sentence, and the matter is still before the courts.

WATCH: B.C. man gets death penalty in China after drug smuggling conviction

“We know the judiciary and criminal system in China are not independent of (politics) and can work under the party,” Lynette Ong, an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto, said.

Ong said because of this, the chance of Schellenberg winning his appeal may be “very low,” as many experts say his death sentence is seen as punishment for Canada’s arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the Chinese telecom company Huawei.

“We know the party can interfere in the judicial decision — that is how the system works,” she said.

But what happens to individuals who are handed the death sentence in China? The question is difficult to answer, according to organizations such as Amnesty International, which says information on China’s death penalty is “shrouded in secrecy.”

China brushes off mounting international concern over Canadian sentenced to death

China executes more people than any other country in the world, according to Amnesty International. But it is difficult to determine the number of death sentences imposed and the number of executions carried out.

Many cases are classified as a state secret. However, occasionally, death penalty cases are very public, as in the case of Schellenberg.

How many people are sentenced to death in China?

The Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide provides a database of the death penalties in 87 countries, including China. The organization notes that although information on some countries’ death penalty laws is a state secret, it still “offers a cautious, informed assessment of state practice.”

In the case of China, Death Penalty Worldwide says there are “possibly thousands” of individuals executed every year.

A group from human rights advocacy organization Amnesty International protesting the death penalty marches to the U.S. Consulate and Chinese Liaison office in Hong Kong on March 30, 2009.


It is difficult to asses the exact number, as many prisoners do not linger on death row — they are either executed immediately or given a suspended two-year sentence, after which they are either executed or have their sentence commuted, the centre said.

The death sentences reported in the media are also a “fraction of those that are imposed,” the organization added. That includes foreign nationals given the death sentence for drug-related crimes.

WATCH: Government will intercede in Canadian facing death sentence in China, Trudeau says

But it is estimated that China sentences thousands of people to death every year, more than the rest of the world put together.

For example, it was reported that 2,000 people were executed in China in 2018. In comparison, 501 individuals were reportedly executed in the Middle East and North Africa region in 2018 (Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Yemen).

What happens when an individual is sentenced to death?

In 2007, the Chinese Supreme People’s Court was granted the power to review death penalty cases.

“All death sentences are meant to be reviewed by higher courts in China … but do these reviews result in a different outcome? Not necessarily,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch.

She said it’s very difficult to know how a Chinese court came to its decision after a trial.

13 Canadians detained in China since December, when Huawei executive was arrested in Canada

In the case of foreign individuals — such as the two Canadians — being handed the death penalty, Ong said an embassy in Beijing could try and discuss the case with the Chinese government.

“But China could turn around and say the behaviour was conducted on their territory and sovereign rights overrule this so China does not have to disclose any other information,” she said.

Once an individual is handed a death sentence, such as Tuesday’s case of the Canadian, the Chinese government could detain the individual for years before the sentence is carried out, Ong said. But, she added, it’s also quite common to execute people right away.

What crimes are punishable by death in China?

China allows the death penalty to be imposed for 68 crimes, 44 of which do not involve violence, according to Dui Hua, a U.S. organization that advocates for prisoners in China.

These include murder, rape, drug trafficking, robbery, treason, espionage, prison riots and producing or selling tainted food or medicine.

WATCH: Family of Canadian imprisoned in China for 10 years searching for answers

For example, in 2009, China’s state media reported that the government executed a dairy farmer and a milk salesman for their role in a tainted infant formula scandal that killed six children and made 300,000 ill.

“The majority of the crimes eligible for the death penalty in China (are) not definitely violent ones, which is of concern,” Richardson said. “Add on top of this the chronic challenges of getting a fair trial in China.”

Methods of execution

Most executions in China are reportedly carried out by lethal injection, with firing squads as a method being phased out.

Death Penalty Worldwide reported that lethal injection and shooting are the only methods authorized by China’s Criminal Procedure Law of 1996. However, as of 2010, shooting executions aren’t reportedly used anymore, the organization added.

“In June 2009, the Chinese government announced that it was a long-term objective to replace the firing squad with lethal injection,” the organization stated.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu

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Harris accepts VP nomination



Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself



Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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