The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, December 6, 2018 5:20 AM IST
Last Updated on Thursday, December 6, 2018 5:22 AM EST
VANCOUVER – Chinese officials are demanding that Canada release the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, who was arrested in Vancouver over the weekend and could be extradited to the United States.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters on Thursday that the Chinese government also wants Canadian officials to reveal the reasoning behind Meng Wanzhou's arrest on Saturday.
He also said Meng's legal rights should be ensured, adding that neither Canadian nor American officials have so far responded to China's concerns.
The comments come after the Chinese embassy in Ottawa issued a statement on Wednesday calling Meng's arrest a serious human rights violation.
"(Canada) arrested a Chinese citizen (who did not violate) any Canadian or American law," the statement said.
"Let us follow closely the development of the issue and take all measures to resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens."
Meanwhile, an official in the B.C. The Supreme Court said that Meng appeared in court on Wednesday and that a bail hearing is scheduled for Friday.
Canadian Justice Department spokesman Ian McLeod said the US is seeking Meng's extradition but could not provide further details on the case because the ban on publication is in effect at Meng's request.
Meng was exchanging flights in Canada when she was detained "on behalf of the United States of America" to face "unspecified charges" in New York, Huawei said in a statement.
"The company received very little information on the allegations and is not aware of any irregularity of Meng Meng," the statement said. "The company believes that the legal systems in Canada and the US will reach a fair conclusion."
In April, China called on Washington to avoid harming business confidence following a Wall Street Journal report that US officials would have investigated whether Huawei violated sanctions against Iran amid escalating tensions with the technology.
In the same month, Washington banned rival ZTE Corp. to export US technology in a separate case on exports to Iran and North Korea.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Huawei said the company complies with all laws and regulations of the countries where it operates, including export controls, sanctions laws and United Nations, United States and European Union regulations.
Huawei, the world's largest provider of network equipment used by telephone and internet companies, has been the focus of deepening US security concerns. Under US President Donald Trump and his predecessor, Barack Obama, Washington has pressured European countries and other allies to limit the use of its technology.
The US considers Huawei and small Chinese suppliers of technology as potential fronts for Chinese espionage and as commercial competitors. The Trump administration says they benefit from improper subsidies and market barriers.
David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said US and Canadian businessmen may face reprisals in China.
"It's something we should be aware of, it's a possibility. China plays hard," Mulroney told The Associated Press. "He is a prominent member of his society and is a company that truly embodies China's pursuit of global recognition as a technological power."
Mulroney said Canada should be prepared for the "prolonged fury" of the Chinese and said it will be portrayed in China as Canada bowing to Trump. He also said that Iran's claims are very harmful to Huawei and said that China will press hard.
US Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican member of the Senate banking and services committees, applauded Canada for the arrest.
"Americans are grateful that our Canadian partners have arrested the financial director of a giant Chinese telecommunications company for (allegedly) breaking US sanctions against Iran," he said.
Meng is a prominent member of Chinese society as vice chairman of Huawei's board and daughter of the company's founder, Ren Zhengfei.
– With Associated Press archives