SHANGHAI – China asked the Canadian government on Saturday to stop the process of extraditing Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, to the United States.
“The US and Canada abuse of their extradition rules is a severe violation of the legitimate rights of a Chinese citizen,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Lu Kang.
The Canadian Department of Justice on Friday had authorized the formal process to begin the extradition of Meng, daughter of the founder of Huawei, who was arrested on Dec. 1 in the Canadian city of Vancouver, while she was on her way to Mexico.
“This is a serious political event. We once again urge the US to immediately withdraw the arrest warrant and extradition request for Meng Wanzhou,” said Lu, adding that the two countries should immediately release Meng and allow her a safe passage to China.
In January, the US Department of Justice had accused Meng, Huawei, and two affiliated companies, of 13 counts of fraud and conspiracy to bypass the sanctions imposed by Washington on Iran.
Meng is currently out on bail but is forbidden to leave her mansion in Vancouver and will have to appear on March 6 before the Supreme Court of British Columbia for the beginning of the extradition process.
This decision threatens to aggravate a serious diplomatic crisis between Canada and China, following Meng’s arrest last December.
China had retaliated by arresting two Canadians, a diplomat Michael Kovrig and a businessman Michael Spavor, over charges of endangering China’s national security.
Both remain in prison, with restricted access to Canadian diplomatic representatives as well as their lawyers.
The Chinese Embassy in Canada also commented on the Canadian Justice’s decision, describing the situation as a political persecution of a high-tech Chinese company.
“If Canada really abides by the principle of rule of law and judiciary independence, the Canadian side should refuse the extradition request of the United States and immediately release Ms. Meng Wanzhou,” an embassy spokesperson said.
The way in which the Canadian court will “handle this case will be a touchstone for testing whether Canada adheres to judicial independence or not. We will wait and see,” concluded the spokesperson.