BERLIN - A Chinese court has sentenced a German national to death for double murder, Berlin said Wednesday, vowing to do all it can to stop his execution.
A court in Xiamen, Fujian province, on Tuesday sentenced the man to death, a foreign ministry spokesman told a press conference. The man has not been named.
It is thought to be the first time in modern history China has imposed the ultimate punishment against a German, and a rare case of a Chinese death sentence against a European.
Germany opposes capital punishment, especially when it comes to its own citizens, and will do everything it can to get the sentence withdrawn, spokesman Martin Schaefer said.
Schaefer added that the ruling does not have force of law until it is confirmed by a higher court in Beijing, and that it can still be challenged.
German news agency DPA reported that the 36-year-old man from the southern German state of Bavaria killed his Venezuelan former girlfriend and her new partner with a hammer and a knife on a street in Xiamen in 2010, then failed in a suicide attempt.
The Intermediate People's Court in Xiamen confirmed only that a German man was sentenced to death Tuesday for murder without giving his name or any further details.
"The German government categorically opposes all forms of capital punishment... and this of course applies all the more so when German nationals are threatened with the death penalty abroad," Schaefer said.
"Therefore, I can assure you that the federal government will do everything within its power with the aim that this sentence ... if at all possible, is not carried out or that it is changed".