Wednesday’s ruling against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has set off a range of barbed commentary in China’s state-backed media, much of it deriding Canada’s role in the affair.
On Wednesday, Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes of the B.C. Supreme Court ruled that the charges Meng faces in America could also be a crime in Canada, and said the case should proceed. Meng is accused of misrepresenting Huawei’s relationship with Skycom Tech Co. and making false statements to HSBC, putting the bank at risk of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Her arrest by the RCMP at the Vancouver airport in December 2018 has placed Canada in the middle of rising tensions between the U.S. and China, and in Chinese state media, the reaction to the ruling was swift and furious. In China, Canada’s role in Meng’s detention is often described as Ottawa doing the dirty work of the U.S., which China claims wants to cripple its tech giant Huawei.
In an article in the Communist Party-run Global Times soon after the ruling, an expert was cited as saying that the decision won’t hurt Huawei “because the company will not succumb to the US because of any individual.” But, citing the same expert, it said the decision will “make Canada a pathetic clown and a scapegoat in the fight between China and the US.”
Expressing the views of Xiang Ligang, a veteran industry analyst, the paper wrote:
Huawei will not bow to US over the unjustified detention of any individual, and the Chinese technology giant, which has survived the US’ relentless crackdown, will push forward amid headwinds — like a jet riddled with bullets yet still flying its mission.”
The paper wrote that He Weiwen, a former senior trade official, told its reporters that the verdict will make Canada-China relations “worse than ever,” and that this will play out when it comes to future trade. “You can always give some projects or orders to other countries, instead of just one county alone,” he said.
Being kept by the US as a key hostage to contain China’s industrial upgrading and maintain its parasitic hegemony, the US will hardly let Meng free,” Mei was quoted as saying. “Canada has been under US pressure since the beginning, or it could have benefited from the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.”
Meanwhile, an editorial in the Communist Party-run China Daily had a headline that read: “Abuse of their extradition treaty by US and Canada is deplorable.”
The ruling means the US and Canada are continuing to abuse their bilateral extradition treaty to attack Huawei,” the editorial read. “The hounding of Meng is part of the US witch hunt against the Chinese telecommunications equipment giant, which Washington is doing all it can to strangle.”
The editorial had stinging words for Canada, which it accused of acting like an innocent party in the affair, when in fact it was anything but.
Ottawa is trying to portray itself as innocent of any wrongdoing, claiming it is a legal matter that should be left to the courts,” it read. “Yet its move to arrest Meng was quite clearly politically motivated — or perhaps it would be more accurate to say economically motivated, since it came when it is was engaged in trade talks with Washington. It should have acted with caution to avoid being dragged into Washington’s shenanigans.”
It said the decision shows that “the US and Canada are continuing to abuse their bilateral extradition treaty to attack Huawei,” and has “effectively dashed hopes of an end to the incident and a mending of Canada-China relations.”
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In the next phase of the proceedings against Meng, the court will hear arguments about whether her arrest was unlawful.
Her lawyers have alleged the Canada Border Services Agency, the RCMP and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a “covert criminal investigation” at the airport and violated Meng ’s charter rights.
Canada’s Justice Minister David Lametti will still have the final say on whether Meng should be extradited to the U.S.
Two Canadians, ex-diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor, were detained in China nine days after Meng’s arrest, in a move seen as a retaliation. They remain in custody.
By The Canadian Press