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China urges Canada to free Huawei CFO or face consequences

Published 12/09/2018, 12:36 AM
Updated 12/09/2018, 12:36 AM
© Reuters. Huawei's Executive Board Director Meng Wanzhou attends the VTB Capital Investment Forum "Russia Calling!" in Moscow

By Ben Blanchard and David Ljunggren

BEIJING/OTTAWA (Reuters) - China warned Canada on Saturday that there would be severe consequences if it did not immediately release Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's [HWT.UL] chief financial officer, calling the case "extremely nasty".

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's global chief financial officer, was arrested in Canada on Dec. 1 and faces extradition to the United States, which alleges that she covered up her company's links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions.

The executive is the daughter of the founder of Huawei.

If extradited to the United States, Meng would face charges of conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions, a Canadian court heard on Friday, with a maximum sentence of 30 years for each charge.

No decision was reached at the extradition hearing after nearly six hours of arguments and counter-arguments, and the hearing was adjourned until Monday.

In a short statement, China's Foreign Ministry said that Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng had issued the warning to release Meng to Canada's ambassador in Beijing, summoning him to lodge a "strong protest".

Adam Austen, a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, said Saturday there is "nothing to add beyond what the Minister said yesterday".

Freeland told reporters on Friday that relationship with China is important and valued, and Canada's ambassador in Beijing has assured Chinese that consular access will be provided to Meng.

When asked about the possible Chinese backlash after the arrest of Huawei's CFO, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Friday that Canada has a very good relationship with Beijing.

Canada's arrest of Meng at the request of the United States while she was changing plane in Vancouver was a serious breach of her lawful rights, Le said.

The move "ignored the law, was unreasonable" and was in its very nature "extremely nasty", he added.

"China strongly urges the Canadian side to immediately release the detained person, and earnestly protect their lawful, legitimate rights, otherwise Canada must accept full responsibility for the serious consequences caused."

The statement did not elaborate.

"There will probably be a deep freeze with the Chinese in high-level visits and exchanges," David Mulroney, former Canadian ambassador to China, said on Friday.

"The ability to talk about free trade will be put in the ice box for a while. But we're going to have to live with that. That's the price of dealing with a country like China."

On Sunday, the ruling Communist Party's official People's Daily said that while China would not "cause trouble", it also did not fear trouble and that nobody should underestimate China's determination on this case.

"Only if the Canadian side corrects its mistake and immediately stops infringing upon the lawful, legitimate rights of a Chinese citizen and gives a proper accounting to the Chinese people can it avoid paying a heavy price for this," it said in an editorial.

Meng's arrest was on the same day that U.S. President Donald Trump met in Argentina with China's Xi Jinping to look for ways to resolve an escalating trade war between the world's two largest economies.

"We are tracking the developments of this case and refer you to the filings in the Supreme Court of British Columbia," said a U.S. State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The news of Meng's arrest has roiled stock markets and drawn condemnation from Chinese authorities, although Trump and his top economic advisers have played down its importance to trade talks after the two leaders agreed to a truce.

© Reuters. Huawei's Executive Board Director Meng Wanzhou attends the VTB Capital Investment Forum "Russia Calling!" in Moscow

A Huawei spokesman said on Friday the company has "every confidence that the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will reach the right conclusion." The company has said it complies with all applicable export control and sanctions laws and other regulations.

Latest comments

Huawei CFO Meng carries Canadian passport therefore it is legal to detain her if she possibly violates any law. Why Is China crying about?
Because Chinese worldwide are one family. Is a Confucius mindset. One Chinese goes down, all Chinese will stand behind them.
Keep that in mind Xi’s daughter is currently studying Psychology PhD in Harvard. Who knows what Trump will do when this keeps escalating.
Guys, in a similar article, Reuters says ZTE has pleaded guilty to exactly the same thing. More than likely this is true. The Chinese government knows this is probably true and that's why they don't want it to go to trial.
The rights of aChinese citizen? Really. Should be more transparent and ask to protect the rights of an elitist affiliated to the upper echelons of the communist party. Any other chinese citizen would be left to rot.
The US is scared that China is emerging in its economy, it want to be the over ruler of the world. This ridiculous teriffs and this case is not transparent to what meng is charged for. Where is the evidence of the case that she is guilty. The US is utterly tlking garbage. Just release the poor chines girl and let china increase well.
U know Xi’s daughter is currently studying PhD in Harvard? If trump is unhappy, who know what he will do about that so China gotta behave and bow down
No. They blatantly ignored our laws and must face consequences. ZTC even admitted to transferring AMERICAN tech to Iran in violation of US sanctions.
USA cant bully China.
China locks up people all the time without due process all the time. It’s about time for China to get its own taste of its own medicine.
Except she is being given due process.
sell everything, buy gold
Canada won't move a finger in a situation like this without US agreeing (read pushing). Top dogs say they didn't know(difficult to believe based on consequences) before talks. Now somebody will have to pay, careful US/Canadian executives... many work with gov't and will be possible targets for "trade". Poor Canada...
Geopolitics, trump antics, will hurt economies, Saudis understand this, no oil cuts from Opec, stock markets entering Big bear mkts, sell all and Cash will be king.
Canada are you sure you want to mess big time with China? Think about it twice before you do something very stupid.
China would bankrupt itself trying to out spend the US on military.
This is a threat to sovereign nation. The world should unitedly oppose it.
Time to sell.everything. Things are about to get very ugly. You don't mess with China like that. Trump is playing with fire.
after 90 days trade deal pause , what will these 2 nations drama be ?
David, compare the US stock market vs Chinese stock market. I think you'll find we have the advantage. Anything China does would hurt them more than the US.
Mike. David is a Chinese netizen who is hired by Commie.
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