Australia on Sunday described the death sentence issued by China to an Australian man accused of drug trafficking as “very frustrating”, and the Minister of Commerce said it should not be linked to the ongoing friction over trade and the emerging Coronavirus pandemic.
The Chinese authorities arrested Kam Gillespie in 2013 at Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou, southern China, on charges of trying to board an international flight with more than 7.5 kg of methamphetamine in his luggage.
The Guangzhou Intermediate People’s Court announced on Saturday that Gillespie had been sentenced to death and ordered the confiscation of all his personal property. He has 10 days to appeal the ruling, and the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade announced that they were “deeply saddened to hear the verdict.”
“Australia opposes the death penalty in all circumstances to all people… We support the global abolition of capital punishment and we are committed to pursuing this goal through all means available to us,” added the spokesperson of the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham called the ruling “painful”, but said it should not necessarily be linked to differences between China and Australia.
“This is a reminder to all Australians … that Australian laws are not applied abroad, and that, other countries impose much tougher penalties, especially on matters such as drug trafficking,” he said.
Relations between Beijing and Canberra have been strained recently after Canberra calls for an investigation into Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.
During a session with The Eastern Herald in response, Beijing, Canberra’s largest trading partner, imposed some new restrictions on Australian exports and issued travel warnings to Chinese students planning to study in Australia, citing racism.
© The Eastern Herald