A Chinese court ordered a retrial of a Canadian citizen on drug smuggling charges on Saturday after prosecutors said his sentence of 15 years was too light - a case that could further test relations between Beijing and Ottawa.
Authorities arrested the men separately after an executive from the telecom firm Huawei was detained on Canadian soil.
The sentencing of foreign drug dealers in China has drawn a lot of attention overseas and some foreign governments strongly oppose the results, but Chinese judicial principle is never affected, which rules that "anyone who commits crimes in the territory of China would be judged equally as said by China's Criminal Law", Ruan Qilin, a professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times on Thursday.
The high court in the city of Dalian in the northeastern province of Liaoning will hear the appeal of Robert Lloyd Schellenberg at 2pm local time, it said in a statement this week. The court ordered the case to return to the trial court, but a retrial date has not been set yet.
According to the Liaoning High People's Court, officials from the Canadian embassy in China attended Schellenberg's hearing, as well as reporters from foreign media. But his case has been publicized by the Chinese press following the December 1 arrest of the chief financial officer of tech giant Huawei on US charges related to trading with Iran.
Canada's government has said it has been following the case for several years and providing consular assistance, but could provide no other details citing privacy concerns.
Another Canadian, a woman named Sarah McIver, was also being held for working illegally in China.
Drugs offences are usually punished severely in China.
A Dalian government news portal said this week Schellenberg had smuggled "an enormous amount of drugs" into China.
Both China and Canada had said McIver's case differed from those of Kovrig and Spavor.
Meng was released on bail in Vancouver earlier this month and faces charges in the United States for violating Iranian sanctions.