An Australian citizen was sentenced to capital punishment in China for a drug offence, The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported quoting Chinese website News.Ifing.com.
A people’s court in Guangzhou, southeast China, issued the “first instance verdict … for the crime of drug smuggling,” according to the report. The court ruling was announced on the court’s website on June 10.
The Australian Government confirmed the verdict and identified the convict as Cam Gillespie.
The news came amid mounting friction between Beijing and Canberra in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In recent months, Australia has been advocating an independent investigation into the international response to the pandemic, including the actions of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the timeline of the outbreak originating in China.
Beijing, which criticized Canberra for “political manipulation,” imposed prohibitive tariffs on imports of Australian beef and barley last May, and in June advised against Chinese nationals travelling to Australia, alerting them to possible racist attacks on Asians in this country during the pandemic.