China is warning that the continued detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou could have dire consequences for Canada.
Meng was arrested at Vancouver International Airport on December 1, while she was transferring flights and is being sought for extradition to the US.
In BC Supreme Court on Tuesday, her bail was set at $10 million, with $7 million of that to be made in cash. She’s also expected to be back in BC Supreme Court court on February 6, 2019, for further proceedings.
Until then, she’s not allowed to leave BC, will be subject to 24/7 surveillance, must wear an electronic monitoring device on her ankle, and must surrender her passports. She must also reside at one of two houses that she owns in Vancouver.
And while Chinese media called the decision to grant Meng bail, a “step in the right direction towards resolving the whole issue,” it added that “there’s still a long way to go before Ms. Meng gains her freedom.”
An unsigned opinion piece on the website of state-owned China Radio International said: “Canada is well-known as a peace-loving country, but now, however, ‘enforces the law’ on behalf of the United States.”
This, it said, “is absurd and hard to understand.”
The article warned that the “unwise act” will bring about consequences and that now’s the time “for the Canadian side to size up the situation and take effective measures to avoid causing unnecessary troubles for its relationship with China.”
Canada, it added, “does not have to set a trap for itself.”
It added that the “Chinese people are prepared and the Canadian side is advised not to cherish any unrealistic and wishful thinking.”
In a video that also aired on China Radio National, Hu Xijin, the Editor-in-Chief for state-owned newspaper the Global Times, warned that “China will definitely take retaliatory measures” if Canada does not release the Huawei executive, and she continues to be detained.
“Canada should not get drawn into the China-US game,” he said.
Since the case began, two Canadians have now been detained in China and Xijin said he believes “if Canada extradites Meng to the US, China’s revenge will be far worse than detaining a Canadian,” but did not specify further.
The two men – one an entrepreneur and one a former diplomat – are reportedly being held on suspicion of “endangering national security,” according to China’s Foreign Ministry.
According to CNN, the US is claiming that Meng “covered up” violations of sanctions on Iran. This is also believed to have helped Huawei “circumvent US sanctions by telling financial institutions that a Huawei subsidiary was a separate company.”
Meng – who is the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei – has denied any wrongdoing.
“My father founded Huawei and I would never do anything that would cause the company reputational damage,” she wrote in a sworn affidavit. “I maintain that I am innocent of the allegations that have been levelled at me.”
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Geng Shuang responded last week to allegations that Meng’s arrest had to do with Chinese intelligence services being suspected of involvement in the hacking of the US hotel group Marriot, saying that he was “not aware” of the situation.
Speaking at a press conference, Shuang said China “firmly opposes all forms of cyber attack and cracks down on them in accordance with law. We firmly object to making groundless accusations on the issue of cybersecurity.”
He also responded to the idea that Meng could be found guilty in Canada for being in breach of sanctions the US has imposed on Iran.
“As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has been faithfully and strictly implementing all the resolutions adopted by the Security Council,” he said. “We oppose the imposition of unilateral sanctions by certain country outside the framework of the Security Council.”
This position, he added, “is consistent and clear-cut.”