Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Chinese tech giant Huawei, was arrested by Canada at the request of the United States as she changed planes in Vancouver on the 1st of this month. There was a bail hearing on her detention at the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Friday morning local time. The five-hour hearing deferred judgement until Monday.
Ms. Meng’s arrest and detention has unleashed a tornado in the international community and has exposed several facts more clearly to the world. Canada could pay an unexpectedly heavy price for its action.
First of all, the United States and Canada, which have portrayed themselves as legally mature, fair and just, will see their justice systems likened to "the Emperor's New Clothes" of the famous Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale.
According to media reports, the reason given in the application by prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York for Canada’s arrest of Ms. Meng was that she was suspected of violating the sanctions ban against Iran. Huawei issued a statement soon after the news broke stating that the Chinese tech giant had always complied with all applicable laws and regulations of the countries in which it operates, including export controls and sanctions laws and regulations applicable to the United Nations, the United States and the European Union. The current U.S. sanctions against Iran are illegal in the first place under international law. UN Sanctions were lifted in 2016 but then unilaterally re-imposed by the United States earlier this year. On October 3, the United Nations International Court of Justice deemed the current U.S. sanctions unlawful, based on the 1955 U.S.-Iranian "Friendship Treaty". The United States realized that it had violated its own obligations and immediately announced the termination of the treaty. Now the United States is treating Huawei, a legally unrelated company, on a groundless charge. This "long arm jurisdiction" that promotes international hegemony and power politics is obviously untenable.
In implementing the US judicial application, Canada stated that there was no engagement or involvement at a political level in this decision “because we respect the independence of our judicial processes.” This statement makes Canada’s “judicial independence” as a sovereign country a joke and a lie. It is no wonder that some overseas netizens described Canada as a loyal dog or even a servant of the United States, instead of a free and democratic country. They also asked how US sanctions can limit transactions between Chinese and Iranians, and have Ms. Meng arrested in Canada. Robert Kagan, a historian at the Brookings Institution in the United States, wrote in the Washington Post that the United States is becoming a rogue state. It seems that Canada is going the same way.
Secondly, Canada’s willingness to trample on human rights exposes its double standards.
The Financial Times quoted a former US intelligence official as saying that the arrest of Meng Wanzhou was “too radical”. Many Twitter users around the world have judged the incident as akin to kidnapping hostages or an act involving unscrupulous means. Some netizens asked how the United States could have known that a Chinese woman was going to change planes in Canada, or how many people have been placed on a list of those to be monitored. Canada is a member of the Five-Eyes alliance that also links the intelligence agencies of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, creating an interconnection and sharing of intelligence information. So, while it’s not difficult to find answers to the public’s questions, it can only increase people's insecurity. The arrest of Meng Wanzhou has caused more people to feel that their basic human rights are being ruthlessly trampled on. Another self-styled "human rights defender" in the West has fallen.
Thirdly, this is a targeted attack against China's leading technology companies, and Canada's role as a participating "wrecker" is becoming more and more obvious.
The Canadian government is opposed to United States’ unilateral sanctions against Iran. However, when the United States used sanctions as an excuse to deal with Huawei, Canada complied, and so its "selfishness" was laid bare for all to see. As one of the best mobile communication infrastructure providers in China and the world, Huawei is a global leader in 5G and has some of the world's best patents and technologies. However, under "ideological" influence, Canada is becoming a stumbling block and even a "wrecker" that aims to hinder Huawei's global development. Some netizens have suggested wryly that the way to win the 5G technology war is apparently to arrest your competitors! A handful of countries have publicly shouted "fair competition" while playing political tricks to stifle and vilify the "fair competition" environment. But history has proven countless times that such efforts are useless.
Fourthly, Canada’s arrest has caused great concern in Chinese society, and the image of Canada has plummeted.
In recent days, Chinese netizens have questioned and condemned the actions of the United States and Canada and expressed their solidarity with Huawei. They strongly demand the release of Meng Wanzhou. The Chinese had long held a good impression of Canada. Almost every Chinese person knows the story of the Canadian doctor Norman Bethune's arrival in China to help the country in its war of resistance against Japanese aggression. The establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Canada in 1970 was achieved during the term of Pierre Trudeau. When his son, Justin Trudeau, took office, China saw a wave of Trudeau-mania, with the hope that China-Canada relations would be further enhanced. In 2017, the number of tourist visits between the two countries exceeded a record 1.5 million. 2018 is designated as “China-Canada Tourism Year”. Losing people's hearts injures the motivating forces of exchanges between the two countries. The arrest and detention of Ms. Meng will bring a lasting negative impact to China-Canada relations and bring anxiety to the world. As soon as news of the incident broke, the global stock and the foreign exchange markets suffered a shock.
The attitude of Huawei and the Chinese government is rational restraint but is also firm and determined. Huawei said it believes that the legal systems of Canada and the United States will eventually deliver a fair conclusion. Chinese officials have expressed firm opposition against the arrest of a Chinese citizen who has not violated any US and Canadian laws and has lodged a strong protest against this serious violation of human rights. China has made solemn representations to the United States and Canada, demanding that they restore Ms. Meng’s personal freedom and warned the Canadian side of its full responsibility for the serious consequences.
It is hoped that the Canadian government and the judiciary, standing at the crossroads, will not go even further along the road of deviating from fairness and justice.
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