Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou is appearing before the British Columbia Supreme Court Monday morning for a hearing that will determine the fate of the United States’ pursuit of extradition on fraud charges.
A spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry said in a press conference that Canada abused its bilateral extradition treaty with the US and that Meng’s arrest was a “political incident.”
“China’s position on the Meng Wanzhou case is consistent and clear. The US and Canada abused their bilateral extradition treaty and arbitrarily took compulsory measures against a Chinese citizen without cause. This is entirely a serious political incident that grossly violates the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese citizen,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang.
“Once again we urge the Canadian side to take concrete measures to correct its wrongdoing and release Ms. Meng and ensure her safe return to China at an early date.”
Meng is wanted by the US on several fraud charges related to millions of dollars worth of alleged business dealings with Iran, and skirting international sanctions on the Islamic dictatorship.
Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes oversaw Monday’s proceedings, where initially Meng’s defence lawyer Richard Peck sought to examine whether Meng’s conduct would be considered fraud in Canada.
Protestors stood outside of the court and held signs on both sides of the debate with some calling on Meng to be freed while others protested the captivity of millions of Uyghur Muslims in mainland China.
She was arrested by Canadian authorities in December 2018 and has since been held under surveillance in her Vancouver-area mansion.
Shortly after Meng’s arrest, the Chinese government arbitrarily detained two Canadians working in China. Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig have since been held in Chinese prisons for over 400 days without any access to legal representation.
The Chinese government has announced it will be prosecuting the pair on national security charges, including for “covertly gathering state secrets and intelligence for foreign forces” and “stealing and illegally providing state secrets to foreign forces.”
Huawei Canada issued a statement on the court case saying that it was “inappropriate” to give comments on the ongoing court case.
“We trust in Canada’s judicial system, which will prove Ms. Meng’s innocence,” said Huawei spokesperson Benjamin Howes.
“We hope Ms. Meng will be together with her family, and colleagues and friends as soon as possible.”
Parliamentarians are expected to meet Monday afternoon to convene the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations to discuss the ongoing diplomatic disputes between the two countries, including the imprisonment of the two Canadian nationals.