The Chinese regime dialed up the pressure on the U.S. and Canada governments to release arrested Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, ahead of the resumption of her bail hearing in British Columbia on Dec. 10.
Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, was arrested in Vancouver on Dec. 1 at the request of U.S. law enforcement. She is accused of committing fraud in relation to skirting U.S. sanctions on Iran. She allegedly misrepresented the relationship between Huawei and Skycom, a Hong Kong-based company that sold U.S.-manufactured equipment to Iran and that prosecutors say is, in fact, controlled by Huawei. The United States is seeking her extradition.
China’s foreign ministry on Dec. 9 summoned the U.S. ambassador to lodge a “strong protest” over the arrest. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng told U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad that the United States had made an “unreasonable demand” on Canada to detain Meng while she was passing through Vancouver, China’s foreign ministry said.
“The actions of the U.S. seriously violated the lawful and legitimate rights of the Chinese citizen, and by their nature were extremely nasty,” Le told Branstad, according to the Chinese foreign ministry.
U.S. President Donald Trump, who, at the time of the arrest, was in a meeting on trade negotiations with Chinese leader Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in Argentina, didn’t have foreknowledge of the action.
On Dec. 10, the Beijing regime warned Canada there would be “severe consequences” if it did not release Meng. Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Dec. 10, any consequences would “wholly depend on the Canadian side.”
Regime Has ‘Difficulty Understanding’ Rule of Law
North American commentators were swift to point out the difference between the judicial systems in liberal democracies such as Canada and the United States, and under one-party-rule in China.
Roland Paris, a former foreign policy adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said the regime’s threats against Canada won’t work.
Perhaps because the Chinese state controls its judicial system, Beijing sometimes has difficulty understanding or believing that courts can be independent in a rule-of-law country. There’s no point in pressuring the Canadian government. Judges will decide. https://t.co/rJh4lgPCbe
— Roland Paris (@rolandparis) December 8, 2018
“Perhaps because the Chinese state controls its judicial system, Beijing sometimes has difficulty understanding or believing that courts can be independent in a rule-of-law country. There’s no point in pressuring the Canadian government. Judges will decide,” Paris wrote on Twitter on Dec. 8
“I think this is very typical of China’s behavior,” said Brian Lee Crowley, managing director of the think tank Macdonald-Laurier Institute. “They look at how they behave domestically, and how every institution in China must bend to the will of the Communist Party, and they just assume that every other society is organized the same way.”
Trade Talks Separate
Meanwhile, U.S. officials stressed the trade talks with China are a separate issue to the arrest.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox News on Dec. 10 that Trump didn’t know about the arrest when he met with Xi on Dec. 1.
“This is a criminal justice matter,” Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative leading the trade negotiations with the Chinese regime, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Dec. 10. “It is totally separate from anything that I work on or anything that the trade policy people in the administration work on. … We have a lot of very big, very important issues. We’ve got serious people working on them, and I don’t think they’ll be affected by this.”
Kudlow similarly described the matter as a law enforcement issue.
“I don’t know how it’s going to turn out…It seems to me there’s a trade lane… and there’s a law enforcement lane,” Kudlow said. “They’re different channels, and I think they will be viewed that way for quite some time.”
Reuters contributed to this report.