Time for Canada to correct mistakes on Meng case

By Mu Lu Source:Global Times Published: 2020/1/7 20:43:40

Huawei Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou, enters the British Columbia Supreme Court on September 23, 2019 and leaves on September 24, 2019, in Vancouver, Canada. Photo: VCG

Extradition hearing of Meng Wanzhou, Chinese tech giant Huawei's Chief Financial Officer, is set to begin on January 20 in British Columbia's Supreme Court in Canada. After more than a year since the arrest of Meng shattered China-Canada relations, it is time for Ottawa to reflect on its recklessness in the past year and give an end to the case. 

The hearing will focus on "the test of dual criminality, or whether US allegations would also be a crime in Canada," according to a report in the Canadian Press. The answer would be simple and clear. The US requested Canada to arrest Meng on allegations of fraud that violated US sanctions on Iran, but Canada has no such sanctions. In other words, the US charges should not be charges in the first place under Canada's legal system. 

Canada boasts rule of law, but Meng's arrest - which should not have happened - violates that. Nevertheless, for political reasons, the Canadian government has abused the extradition treaty with the US and let this obvious violation of the rule of law hang for more than a year. Such move is a stain to the history of the country's rule of law.

Some observers appealed to Canadian Justice Minister David Lametti to step in to use his legal power to stop the whole process and thus pull Ottawa out of the diplomatic dilemma. But he refused, using independence of Canada's judicial system as an excuse. 

Lametti may not want to see Canadian government look like it's crumpling under pressure, but this is not the time for Canada to try to save face. A country with the rule of law should respect and value the laws. However, the arrest and arbitrary detention of Meng have severely infringed on a Chinese citizen's legitimate rights and interests. 

Meng case is by no means a pure judicial case, but rather a political persecution launched by the US, with the intention to contain China's high-tech development.

If the Canadian government wants to save face and continue on the wrong side to intensify confrontations with China, what it will suffer ultimately would be not only disrepute but also larger losses. Should Ottawa take the blame for Washington's long-arm jurisdiction?

Canada will pay a huge price for the illegal arrest of Meng, and it may have had a glimpse of that consequence in the past year. Better late than never. Stop on the brink of precipice, release Meng as soon as possible, and letting her return to China safely is the best and only choice for the Canadian government to cut its losses. 

By holding the candle for the devil but not being aware of it, Canada would make itself a fool on the international political stage. To wake up in time or to continue shaming the rule of law. This is the time for Canada to make the right call.

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