China has been left reeling after the Canadian Government officially approved the extradition proceedings against Ms. Meng Wanzhou, the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei Technologies. Ms. Meng is the daughter of the Huawei founder who is still under house arrest in Canada. She was arrested in Vancouver Canada last year December. As alleged, she had conspired to violate the U.S sanctions on Iran. Earlier this year, she was charged with sparking uproar of dissatisfaction from the Chinese government who have been ordering for her immediate release. Canadian authorities have already set March 6th as the date which Ms. Meng will appear before the court to determine when the extradition hearing will take place.
As the situation unravels, the ailing relationship between China and Canada continues to suffer. In what seems like retaliatory moves following Ms. Meng’s arrest, China had previously arrested two Canadian citizens over what it cited as national security concerns. Furthermore, a Chinese court later revisited the case of a Canadian man who had been arrested and jailed for a smuggling offense, consequently, sentencing him to death.
A former Canadian diplomat who had two stints in China, and now serves as a professor at Brock University, Mr. Charles Burton, weighed in the situation. In his comments, he argued that it was unlikely that Beijing was going to sit back and just watch as the state of affairs deteriorates; the chances are that it will heighten its retaliatory efforts against Canada. Charles added that some of the strategies that the Chinese government could use may include preventing Chinese students from schooling in Canada or initiating a clampdown on Canadian canola shipments.
Canada has been refusing to give in to the increasing Chinese calls, demanding for the release of Ms. Meng. Earlier this year, China questioned the independence of the Canadian judicial system. More so, Beijing noted that the Canadian government had faced asseverations over attempting to halt a corruption trial. When approached, David Lametti the Canadian justice minister declined to make comments on the accusations. Ms. Meng’s legal team expressed its discontentment over the extradition proceedings saying that the U.S charges were politically fuelled.
The president of the United States, Donald Trump, comments have been captured before, saying that he would be interested to intervene in Ms. Meng’s case if it could help seal the much anticipated US-China trade agreement. In a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry, China termed the current state as a serious political affair. Further to that, it urged the US government to abandon the extradition plans and withdraw the arrest warrant for Ms. Meng. The statement also recommended that the Canadian authorities should release Ms. Meng and ensure that she is safely returned to China.
Legal experts had foreseen the way the extradition situation would pan out. In the wake of Canadian decision to approve extradition proceedings, they had said that the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, would be more inclined towards giving the go-ahead of the proceedings due to the cordial judicial relationship between the US and Canada. However, it could take a couple of years before Ms. Meng is actually extradited to the United States. This was attributed to the fact that in the Canadian justice system, one is allowed to appeal several times. Ms. Meng’s legal team will be determined to do so.
The final decision on the matter is, however, expected to come from the Canadian federal justice minister. Depending on the decision he makes, he is likely to easily infuriate either the United States or add more fuel to the already raging relationship between Canada and China.
A professor at the University of Ottawa Graduate School of public and international affairs, Mr. Wesley Wark, reiterated that the Canadians are likely to continuously take a beating from China throughout this complex process. According to his suspicion, Justin Trudeau’s government is desperately hoping that China and the United States will somehow reach a deal before the situation gets much worse so that he can avoid getting caught up further into the brewing crossfire between the two countries.
Ms. Meng remains under the custody of the Canadian authorities, as her legal team burns the midnight oil with the intent of building a strong case. They hope to clear her of all the charges and secure her freedom so that she can return to her home country.