China has reiterated calls for the release of Huawei CFO Meng Whanzhou, who is under house arrest in Canada.
Meng, the daughter of Huawei co-founder Ren Zhengfei, is facing extradition to the US to answer charges of fraud, and is due to appear in court later today for a decisive and highly anticipated hearing.
Over a year has passed since the executive was arrested at Vancouver airport in December 2018 at the request of the United States.
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It is alleged that Meng advised Huawei on how to avoid sanctions on doing business with Iran, which could have put multinational banking organisations at risk of breaking those sanctions too.
In June, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland expressed the intention to see Meng’s extradition through to its end.
“When it comes to Ms Meng there has to be no political interference,” the Minister said. “It would be a very dangerous precedent indeed for Canada to alter its behaviour when it comes to honouring an extradition treaty in response to external pressure.”
This is not the first time the Chinese government, reportedly made furious by the arrest, has called for Meng’s release. It has also since arrested two Canadian citizens - Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor - on state security charges, in a move that many commentators consider a direct retaliation.
“The resolve of the Chinese government to protect Chinese citizens’ proper legal rights is firm and unwavering,” said China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang. He referred to the situation as a “serious political matter,” less than a week after the US and China signed an agreement to ease the ongoing trade war between the two nations.
The trade war between the US and China has rumbled on since July 2018, playing havoc with global markets. The conflict has seen the two largest global economies impose tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of goods.
The US has also repeatedly called on its allies to shun Huawei, whose 5G infrastructure it believes poses a significant security risk. The Chinese firm has long been excluded from the US market, but consistently denies allegations that the Chinese government would use its infrastructure to surveil foreign powers.
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