A livid China on Saturday lodged a diplomatic protest with Canada deploring its move to launch the extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou to the US to stand trial on charges including fraud linked to the alleged violation of sanctions on Iran.
Canada announced Friday that it would launch proceedings to extradite Meng, the high-profile daughter of Huawei‘s owner Ren Zhengfei, raising concerns in Beijing, which has been very vocal in protesting her arrest since December last year.
Meng was arrested in Canada at the request of the US.
China said the case against Meng was an “abuse of the bilateral extradition treaty” between Canada and the US.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang said allowing the extradition hearing to go ahead was a “political incident”.
China expressed its “strong dissatisfaction” and “resolute opposition” to the extradition proceedings, he said.
The extradition proceedings of the top executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei to the United States would set the stage for a lengthy diplomatic wrangle between the three countries.
State-run Xinhua news agency reported that China has lodged solemn representation, meaning diplomatic protest to Canada.
“This is a severe political incident. We once again urge the US side to immediately withdraw the arrest warrant and extradition request for Meng Wanzhou and urge the Canadian side to immediately release her and ensure that she returns to China safe and sound,” Lu said.
US authorities filed almost two dozen charges against Huawei, the world’s second largest smartphone maker, and Meng in January, along with a formal request for her extradition.
The charges include bank fraud, obstruction of justice and theft of technology. Huawei and Meng have both denied all the allegations.
Canada‘s justice department had until Friday to decide whether or not the extradition case would proceed in Canadian courts.
That decision was based on whether the request complied with the requirements of the US-Canada extradition treaty, and could not be refused if so.
For China Meng’s case came at a politically and economically sensitive time. The announcement coincided with China kicking off its annual political season with its rubber stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC) and the China People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
About 5,000 delegates mostly members of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and other nominated members would deliberate in the next 10 days about critical national issues.