China has warned Canada of “severe consequences” if it did not immediately release telecom company Huawei’s chief financial officer (CFO), calling the case “extremely nasty”.
“China strongly urges the Canadian side to immediately release the detained person, and earnestly protect their lawful, legitimate rights, otherwise Canada must accept full responsibility for the serious consequences caused,” said a statement released by the Chinese foreign ministry on Saturday.
Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s CFO and daughter of its founder, was arrested in Canada on December 1 and faces extradition to the United States.The US alleges the 46-year-old executive covered up her company’s links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions.
If extradited to the US, Meng could face charges of conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions, with a maximum sentence of 30 years for each charge.Canada’s arrest of Meng at the request of the US, while she was changing plane in Vancouver, was a serious breach of her rights, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said.
The move “ignored the law, was unreasonable” and was in its very nature “extremely nasty”, he added.On Friday, a Canadian court heard the extradition plea, but no decision was reached after nearly six hours of arguments and counter-arguments. The case will be next heard on Monday.
There was no immediate reaction from the office of Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on Saturday.When asked about the possible Chinese backlash after Meng’s arrest, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Friday that Canada has a very good relationship with Beijing.