China to execute Filipino drug trafficker Dec. 8

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A Chinese court has upheld the drug trafficking conviction of a Filipino man and set his execution for next week despite appeals for clemency from the Philippine president, officials said Wednesday.

The 35-year-old man, who was not identified, was arrested in September 2008 at Guilin International Airport in southern China while trying to smuggle 3.3 pounds of heroin into Guangxi province from Malaysia, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said.

Smuggling more than 50 grams of heroin or other drugs is punishable by death in China.

Philippine officials based in China were told Monday that the Supreme People's Court in Beijing had upheld a lower court's decision to impose the death penalty on the Filipino man and that a Dec. 8 execution date had been set, the department said.

The Philippine government provided all possible help to the condemned man and made "sustained and exhaustive representations with the Chinese government at all levels," including an appeal from President Benigno Aquino III to his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, to try to have the death sentence commuted to life in prison, officials said.

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