"It is obvious ... that Schellenberg's fate will have little to do with his actual guilt or innocence", Donald Clarke, a professor at George Washington University specializing in Chinese law, told the South China Morning Post.
A terse official statement from the Dalian Intermediate People's Court said that it had "convicted Schellenberg of smuggling drugs and sentenced him to death".
A court in northeast China's Liaoning Province has sentenced Canadian citizen Robert Lloyd Schellenberg to death for alleged drug smuggling, as tensions persist between Beijing and Ottawa over the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou last month in Vancouver.
Schellenberg, who was reportedly detained in northeast Liaoning province in 2014, is accused of playing an important role in drug smuggling and of potentially being involved in global organised drug trafficking activities.
His case was then publicized by the Chinese press following the December 1 arrest of Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, on USA charges related to doing business with Iran.
On Friday, Donald Clarke, a specialist in Chinese law at George Washington University, said in a blog post that Schellenberg's case had several unusual features, including the delay in trial and sentencing, the rare decision for and extraordinary speed in scheduling a retrial, and invitations to global media to observe the case.
Evidence obtained by the investigators "suggests Schellenberg was involved in organized global drug crime", the prosecution argued.
Schellenberg has 10 days to appeal his sentence, the court said in a statement, which his lawyer Zhang Dongshuo told Reuters will most likely happen.
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Chinese authorities later detained two Canadian nationals - a former diplomat and a business consultant - on suspicion of endangering national security, a move seen as retaliation over the Huawei executive´s arrest.
The International Crisis Group, which gives advice on solving conflicts, has adamantly denied that Kovrig did anything to harm China.
According to the court, Schellenberg was recruited to help smuggle 222 kilograms of methamphetamine from a Chinese warehouse to Australia. "I am a normal person", he said in court Monday.
Prosecutors brought in Xu as a witness, who in close to two hours of testimony never once turned to look at Schellenberg.
"After verifying the evidence, the court determined that the case is strong and Schellenberg is the principal culprit", the report said.
Two other Chinese men have been involved in this case - one has sentenced to life imprisonment, another handed a suspended death sentence.
"If no laws have been broken, I hope that these people can stop recklessly suspecting others of politicising legal issues just because they have done so".