| 28 May 2024, Tuesday |

China says Canada should ‘draw lessons’ from Huawei exec case

The release of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou demonstrates China’s might, and Canada should “draw lessons,” China’s foreign ministry said on Monday, after state media hailed the development as an opportunity for bilateral relations to be rebooted.

Meng Wanzhou arrived in Shenzhen, Huawei’s home city, on a government-chartered jet on Saturday, completing her nearly three-year extradition battle with the US, on the same day that two Canadians held by Beijing shortly after Meng’s 2018 detention returned home.

Meng’s return demonstrates the Chinese government’s and governing Communist Party’s ability to safeguard their citizens, businesses, and interests, according to Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry.

Within hours of Meng’s release from home detention, two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who had been imprisoned on espionage charges, departed China.

The Canadian cases were “totally different” from Meng’s, which Hua described as a case of “political persecution.”

“Canada should learn from its mistakes and act in its own best interests,” she continued.

Canada had called the arrest of the two an act of “hostage diplomacy,” a characterization China repeatedly denied.

The Global Times late on Sunday said that Kovrig and Spavor had “confessed their guilt” and were released on bail for medical reasons before departing China.

Spavor was accused of supplying photographs of military equipment to Kovrig and sentenced to 11 years in jail in August. Kovrig had been awaiting sentencing.

Meng’s release was an opportunity to improve relations with Canada and the United States but “toxic political rhetoric” could still “poison” the atmosphere”, China’s Global Times tabloid said earlier on Monday.

“The easing of attitudes by both sides is a positive but limited improvement in China-US ties,” said Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Beijing’s Renmin University.

“There’s no sign that Washington would back down on the trade battle,” Shi said. “I don’t see China easing trade sanctions against Canada any time soon.”

After reaching an agreement with US prosecutors on Friday to terminate a bank fraud prosecution against her, Meng was permitted to return home.

  • Reuters