China has threatened Canada with grave consequences if a senior executive at telecommunications major Huawei, who was arrested in Vancouver on December 1 at the request of United States’ authorities, is not immediately released, Xinhua reported. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng on Saturday urgently summoned Canadian ambassador John McCallum to lodge a strong protest against the detention of Meng Wanzhou.
Meng, daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, is the company’s global chief financial officer and faces extradition to the US. She is also one of the vice chairpersons on Huawei’s board of directors.
Meng faces fraud charges in the US for allegedly covering up her company’s links to a firm that tried to sell equipment to Iran despite sanctions. She was detained while changing planes in Vancouver.
China’s ministry of foreign affairs in a statement said that detaining Meng was a “severe violation of the Chinese citizen’s legitimate rights and interests”. “Such a move ignores the law and is unreasonable, unconscionable, and vile in nature,” the statement said. “China strongly urges the Canadian side to immediately release the detained Huawei executive and effectively protect her legitimate rights and interests, or face grave consequences that the Canadian side should be held accountable for.”
Meng is accused of “conspiracy to defraud multiple financial institutions” and if convicted faces more than 30 years in prison in the US, said a Canadian prosecutor while asking a Vancouver court to deny her bail request. The case has been adjourned until Monday.
“We will continue to follow the bail hearing,” Huawei spokesperson Glenn Schloss told Bloomberg. “We have every confidence that the Canadian and US legal systems will reach the right conclusion.”
The arrest follows an agreement between the US and China to stop new trade tariffs for three months as both nations decided to engage in new trade negotiations. The arrest may further strain bilateral ties.