Canada-China ties have been in the doldrums for quite some time over the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei. Now, a Vancouver Judge has ruled that the US fraud charges against Wanzhou fulfilled the Canadian extradition requirement of “double criminality”, that is, the impugned act is a crime in Canada too. This puts the Huawei executive one step closer to being extradited to the USA, for violating trade sanctions on Iran.
Adding further to the soaring tensions is Canada’s condemnation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong with which the Xi Jinping regime will take away whatever freedoms the semi-autonomous region still enjoys.
This has triggered a knee-jerk reaction from Beijing which has accused Canada of acting as an “accomplice” with the US in a “grave political incident”. Beijing has threatened a trade war against Canada.
CCP mouthpiece Global Times has published a report titled, “Growing uncertainties in Canada raise alarm for Chinese companies”. The report goes on to state, “it will be increasingly challenging for Canada to seek a balance between the world’s two largest economies, adding uncertainties to China-Canada economic and trade ties.”
Wanzhou had made the application against extradition on the basis of “double-criminality” rule but with the scrapping of her application, she is now staring right into the prospect of being extradited to the US. This has led to the Chinese Embassy releasing a strongly worded statement that read, “China hereby expresses strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to this decision, and has made serious representations with Canada.”
With the Trump administration already deciding to block Huawei from semi-conductor supplies and the United Kingdom deciding to form D10- a group of ten democracies to take on Huawei’s 5G technology, the telecom major is already staring at bleak prospects. The latest judicial ruling could prove to be the last straw for the Chinese telecom giant due to which Beijing has started threatening Canada with a trade war of the kind that it has already waged on Australia.
China’s Foreign Ministry itself has issued veiled threats and has stated that Canada “should immediately correct its mistake, release Meng and ensure her safe return to China at an early date, so as to avoid any continuous harm to China-Canada relations”.
Therefore, if Canada doesn’t “correct” its mistake according to Chinese perception, Beijing will initiate economic action against Ottawa, and this becomes crystal clear from what Global Times, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China (CCP) has to say.
In another report that takes a dig at Canada over the latest setback to the Huawei CFO, Global Times has quoted He Weiwen, a former senior trade official and an Executive Council Member of the China Society for WTO Studies as saying that the ruling will make the bilateral relationship “worse than ever”.
The report also quotes Mei Xinyu, an expert close to China’s Commerce Ministry as saying, “Canada has been under US pressure since the beginning, or it could have benefited from the trade war between the world’s two largest economies.”
At the same time, former Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Director, Richard Fadden has suggested that there could be more retaliatory detentions of Candian nationals in China.
Since December 2018, two Canadians- Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a businessman have been kept under arbitrary detention by Beijing. China had detained them on accusations of espionage as a retaliation against the arrest of the Huawei CFO in Canada.
Fadden has said that the “easiest form” of retaliation for China could be aimed at other Canadian nationals in that country are “at some risk that they may join the two Michaels in Chinese detention.”
This could play heavily on deteriorating Canada-China relations, which are already set to dip further. This hasn’t stooped Canada from signing a statement condemning China over the imposition of the National Security Law in Hong Kong.
The statement reads, “Direct imposition of national-security legislation on Hong Kong by the Beijing authorities … would curtail the Hong Kong people’s liberties, and in doing so, dramatically erode the autonomy and the system that made it so prosperous.”
We at TFIPOST had predicted heightened tensions between China and Canada almost a month ago, and the present developments only vindicate the predictions that we have been making.