ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
International relations

China sentences Australian to death as relations deteriorate

Cam Gillespie was arrested seven years ago on charges of drug trafficking

Australian flag flutters in front of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Tensions between Beijing and Canberra have worsened since Australia called for an international inquiry into the source and spread of the new coronavirus.   © Reuters

SYDNEY (Reuters) -- An Australian man has been sentenced to death in China, authorities said on Saturday, a development that could further escalate tensions between the two countries.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it was providing consular assistance to the man, without identifying him.

Australian and Chinese media have identified the man as Cam Gillespie, arrested seven years ago on charges of drug trafficking in southern China.

China's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday. Attempts to reach Gillespie's family were unsuccessful.

"We are deeply saddened to hear of the verdict made in his case," the Australian foreign affairs department said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

Chinese police check seized crystal meth in Guangdong in this file photo.    © Reuters

"Australia opposes the death penalty, in all circumstances for all people. We support the universal abolition of the death penalty and are committed to pursuing this goal through all the avenues available to us."

Cam Gillespie was arrested in 2013 with more than 7.5 kg (17 pounds) of methamphetamine in his check-in luggage while attempting to board an international flight from Baiyun Airport in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, according to several media reports.

Diplomatic tensions between Beijing and Canberra have worsened since Australia called for an international inquiry into the source and spread of the new coronavirus, which emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

China has in recent weeks banned Australian beef imports and imposed tariffs on Australian barley. It has also urged Chinese tourists to avoid Australia.

The death sentence for drug smuggling is not uncommon in China, where executions are usually carried out by firing squad.

Last year, the country sentenced two Canadians to death for drug-related crimes following the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and said it was "not worried in the slightest" by mounting international concern over the verdict.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends October 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more