Canadian court document sparks new wave of anger in China
Calls rise for Beijing to retaliate against Ottawa in Meng case
Published: Jun 15, 2020 08:14 PM

Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou.Photo:VCG

Fresh revelations from Canadian court documents that the country's spy agency was directly involved in the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in 2018 sparked a new wave of indignation among Chinese public, with many calling for Beijing to take forceful countermeasures to punish Ottawa.

On Monday, Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for China's Foreign Ministry, called the latest document new proof that Meng's arrest was driven completely by political motives and Canada played the role of an "accomplice" to the US in the latter's relentless crackdown on the Chinese telecom firm.

"We again urge Canada to treat seriously China's solemn and just stance and concerns, and immediately release Ms Meng Wanzhou so that she could return to China safely," Zhao told a routine press briefing in Beijing, warning Canada not to continue on the wrong path for too long. 

"China's determination to protect its legitimate rights and interests is unwavering," Zhao said.  

Arrested in December 2018 at the US' request, Meng remains under detention in Canada after a Canadian court last month ruled against defense arguments that US charges against her do not constitute crimes in Canada.

The new court documents revealed over the weekend showed that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) was advised by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation ahead of the arrest of Meng at the Vancouver airport. In a report, the CSIS warned that the arrest could send "shock waves" around the world and lead to "great consequences" for the bilateral relationship, according to Reuters.

The new information confirms what Chinese officials have been stating - that the arrest was a purely political move - and goes against claims of so-called judicial independence by Canadian officials, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

"[The new document] basically ripped off the fig leaf of Trudeau's lies about the rule of law in Canada in Meng's case," Mei Xinyu, a research fellow at the Ministry of Commerce's Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Monday. 

"There should be no question that Meng's arrest was a political operation by the US and Canada."

While Chinese officials have been relatively restrained, describing Canada as an accomplice of the US, Chinese netizens are more straightforward, with many calling Ottawa the "lap dog" of the US, and referring to the country as "Canadog."

Some also called for stronger countermeasures against Canada. "Isn't there anything we can do about Canada?" one social media user wrote on Sina Weibo on Monday. "We must teach Canadog a lesson," another wrote. 

While Chinese officials have not publicly announced countermeasures against Canada, the possibility of tit-for-tat measures against Ottawa is rising in the wake of the latest court revelation, which both offers justification for and exerts pressure on Chinese officials to retaliate, analysts said.

"There is really no point to criticize Canada over the latest document because we already knew that the country has no diplomatic independence… what we have to make clear is that in terms of trade, Canada is the one that needs our market," Chen Fengying, a research fellow at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times on Monday. "We don't need to pay too much attention to countries like Canada and Australia as we fight against US bullying, but there are certainly a lot of ways to strike at them."

China is Canada's second-largest trading partner for both imports and exports, with Canadian exports to China totaling $24.4 billion in 2019 and imports reaching $46.8 billion, according to Canadian official data. China is also one of the largest markets for Canadian goods such as canola and minerals.

"Canada and China had enjoyed a close relationship both in terms of trade and people-to-people exchanges before Meng's arrest. But now, especially after the [new court document], we have more reason to take retaliatory measures against Canada," Mei said.