Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Answers Questions about the Case of Australian Drug Trafficker
2020/06/17
 
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian's Regular Press Conference on June 15, 2020

 
Australian Broadcasting Corporation: First, over the weekend, it was announced by the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court that an Australian drug trafficker Karm Gilespies has been given a death sentence. Why is there no transparent record from the court? And the second question is, given this announcement came in the middle of a period of diplomatic tension between Australia and China, why shouldn't Australians read into the timing of the announcement as being linked to the recent diplomatic tension?
 
Zhao Lijian: On your first question, drug-related crimes are considered serious crimes worldwide. Chinese law retains death sentence and controls its application strictly. Death sentence for drug-related crimes that are extremely dangerous will help deter and prevent such crimes. Chinese law stipulates that every criminal is equal in the application of the law. China's judicial authorities handle cases involving criminals of different nationalities in accordance with law. In this case, the local court in China reached a verdict in an open trial with all the criminal facts well established. The Chinese side will continue to ensure the legal rights of the person involved and facilitate consular visits by the Australian side in accordance with international conventions and the Agreement on Consular Relations between Australia and China.
 
On your second question, China's judicial authorities handle the relevant case independently in strict accordance with Chinese law and legal procedures.
 
Foreign Journalist: This is a follow-up to the case of Karm Gilespie. There's a view in Australia that because of the timing of this case, it's very difficult to separate it from the diplomatic tensions between Beijing and Canberra. What would you say to that? Also, would China consider representation from Australia to commute the death penalty?
 
Zhao Lijian: I have already made clear the position of the Chinese government.
 
In accordance with law, the local court in China reached a verdict in an open trial with all the criminal facts well established. Drug-related crimes are considered felony worldwide. Death sentence for drug-related crimes that are extremely dangerous will help deter and prevent such crimes. Everyone is equal before the law. China's judicial authorities handle the relevant case independently in strict accordance with Chinese law and legal procedures. The Australian side should respect China's judicial sovereignty.