Canada’s standoff with the Chinese tech giant Huawei deepened Wednesday when the company’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, appeared at the British Columbia Supreme Court as part of her ongoing extradition trial.
The United States is requesting Meng be extradited from Canada for fraud allegations and circumventing American sanctions on Iran. Meng is currently living in her Vancouver home after being released on $10 million bail.
China apparently retaliated for Meng’s Dec. 1 arrest by detaining two Canadian nationals living in China, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
During Wednesday’s appearance, Meng’s lawyers argued the case’s political implications make it extremely complex, citing President Donald Trump’s comments about using charges against the Huawei CFO as a means to secure a trade deal with China.
Huawei has been at the centre of trade and political disagreements between the United States and China for some time now.
Canada has faced pressure from its own intelligence agency as well as the United States to drop the company from working on its 5G network, citing the espionage risk associated with a company that has suspected ties with the Chinese government.
Meng’s arrest has led to Canada becoming directly involved in an ongoing trade war between the two superpowers.
China has blocked Canadian agriculture imports on canola oil as Meng’s case makes progress through the courts.
“There are issues arising out of the treatment of Ms. Meng on her arrival at the Vancouver International Airport and her detention and subsequent arrest. It’s a complex case. I don’t say that lightly,” said one of Meng’s attorney’s, Richard Peck.
The Canadian government has claimed it is following the rule of law on the case and that simply complying with an extradition agreement with its neighbour, the United States.
Peck claims his defence team has made access to information requests to both the RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) as it delays setting an extradition hearing date.
In retaliation for her detainment, Meng has filed a civil suit against the federal government, the RCMP superintendent and several CBSA agents for allegedly infringing on her Charter rights by not telling her the reason for her arrest.