BEIJING -- A Beijing court sentenced a Chinese man to life in prison Thursday for murdering his girlfriend in Canada, a case that raised diplomatic issues because Beijing insisted on holding the trial even though the crime happened in another country.
The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate Court ruled that Li Ang was guilty of "intentional homicide" in the death of Amanda Zhao, whose body was found stuffed in a suitcase 10 years ago in Vancouver, Li's lawyer Zou Jiaming said.
Li and Zhao were in a relationship and living together in the western Canadian city, where both were students.
Li was a suspect in the case but fled to China days after Zhao's body was found, setting off a tricky diplomatic situation because China by law does not extradite its citizens and says it can put them on trial itself regardless of where a crime occurred.
Last year, a Shanghai court sentenced a man to 15 years in jail for murdering a taxi driver in New Zealand.
Police in Canada tried to have Li, who changed his name to Li Jiaming, extradited to Canada. When China refused, Canadian police agreed to provide evidence for the trial.
It is thought that authorities in New Zealand and Canada – countries opposed to capital punishment – agreed to provide evidence in the two cases in return for promises there would be no death penalty, which is used in China more than anywhere else.
A Canadian diplomat who was in the court Thursday declined to comment.