Ruling on Meng shows Canada lost judicial, diplomatic independence to US bullying: experts
Published: May 28, 2020 02:08 AM

China's Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou is seen at the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, Jan. 20, 2020. (Photo by Harrison Ha/Xinhua)


A Canadian court on Thursday defied widespread expectations and ruled to keep Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in custody, a move Chinese experts said shows that Canada has completely surrendered its self-proclaimed judicial and diplomatic independence to US bullying and foreshadows the "worst-ever" China-Canada ties.

B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled that extradition proceedings against the Huawei executive should proceed. Judge said the offence Meng is accused of by American prosecutors would be considered a crime if it occurred in Canada, CBC News reported.

The "unjustified" ruling, which will mean the continued detention of Meng, has no real impact on Huawei, because the company will not succumb to the US because of any individual. But it will make Canada a pathetic clown and a scapegoat in the fight between China and the US, experts said.

The ruling will push the case into the next phase, Zhi Zhenfeng, a legal expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times. 

"The local court still needs to hear appeals such as whether the Canadian officials detained Meng for substantive reasons and based on the legal process," Zhi said. 

Meng was arrested by Canadian authorities on December 1, 2018 at the behest of the US over charges of violating US unilateral sanctions, sparking widespread indignation among the Chinese public and officials, and plunging China-Canada ties into turmoil. 

Progress in the case has also drawn close attention from the whole country - not only the central government but also the public - since Meng's arrest in 2018, and stirred huge sentiment in China.

In a sign of widespread attention to the case, Meng's name was on the trending list of China's Twitter-like social media platform Sina Weibo for two consecutive days. Chinese netizens expressed expectations for the return of Meng, while also worrying about whether Canada can "withstand the impact from the US side." 

"I hope the Canadian side could make a 'wise choice,' or it will continue to bear the brunt of souring China-Canada ties, and a break in sentiment among Chinese people that's beyond repair," said a netizen named Xiaohongsheng21.

"Canada will realize that the losses will outweigh the gains," said another netizen named Jipinyouxi.

A day before the scheduled release of the key ruling, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian reiterated China's position on the case, saying it's a "serious political event," and seriously violated the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens, noting that Meng should be released immediately.

The ruling will make the bilateral relationship "worse than ever," He Weiwen, a former senior trade official and an executive council member of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies, told the Global Times. 

Deteriorating bilateral ties will initially be seen in souring trade exchanges, He said. "You can always give some projects or orders to other countries, instead of just one county alone."

Mei Xinyu, an expert close to China's Commerce Ministry, said that Meng will likely stay in Canada for years. "Being kept by the US as a key hostage to contain China's industrial upgrading and maintain its parasitic hegemony, the US will hardly let Meng free." 

"Canada has been under US pressure since the beginning, or it could have benefited from the trade war between the world's two largest economies," Mei said.

Even if the relationship between China and the US improves, Canada could still suffer from strong sentiment from the Chinese public if it makes an "unjustified ruling" toward Meng, experts said.

"Nevertheless, the ruling on Meng will not have any impact on Huawei," Xiang Ligang, a veteran industry analyst and a close follower of Huawei, told the Global Times. 

Huawei will not bow to US over the unjustified detention of any individual, and the Chinese technology giant, which has survived the US' relentless crackdown, will push forward amid headwinds - like a jet riddled with bullets yet still flying its mission, Xiang said.