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Tensions with China deepen as an Australian is sentenced to death

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China has sentenced an Australian citizen to death as diplomatic tensions between the two countries continue to rise.

Karm Gilespie was arrested in 2013 with more than 7.5 kilograms of methamphetamine in his check-in luggage while attempting to board an international flight leaving China.

Last week a Chinese court sentenced the 53-year-old to death for drug trafficking.

Professor Donald Rothwell, International Law expert at ANU told Deborah Knight despite China cracking down heavily on drug trafficking, the timing of this sentence needs to be acknowledged.

“The fact that this decision was handed down by the Chinese court last week … in the midst of this current tension in the Australian-China bilateral relationship, I just do not think is coincidental.”

Professor Rothwell believes Australia needs to forcefully remind China to respect our bilateral treaty and allow consular access to Mr Gilespie whilst still maintaining strong consistency amongst our government ministers.

“[Australia] needs to also not engage in megaphone diplomacy… which has sometimes been a critique.

“Especially when we’ve got a very sensitive matter now, where the life of an Australian citizen could be in peril.”

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Image: Getty