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China has executed a South African woman for drug smuggling, after rejecting appeals by the South African government to spare her life.

Janice Linden was convicted in 2009 of attempting to smuggle three kilograms of crystal methamphetamine in luggage through an airport in the southern city of Guangzhou. She later argued her innocence, saying the drugs had been planted in her suitcase.

South African news reports say several government appeals had been lodged with Beijing to have Linden's death sentence commuted to life in prison. Those reports say Linden, 35, only learned a few hours before her execution that her final appeal had failed.

A member of Migrante International, a Filipino mig
A member of Migrante International, a Filipino migrant organisation, displays a placard demanding legal assistance for her relatives during a protest outside the presidential palace in Manila, February 21, 2011.

The French news agency quotes Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin as saying that Chinese law had been followed in the case.

The execution is the second death sentence imposed by China on a foreigner in recent days.

Last week, a 35-year-old Filipino man convicted of drug smuggling was put to death after a court in Guangxi province rejected an appeal from Philippine President Benigno Aquino to commute the death sentence to life in prison.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.