Wednesday has been a wild day for US-China relations.
It has been a few months since we’ve checked in with Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who has spent the last 16 months free on bail in Vancouver while the Canadian legal system has processed her case, as it moves to determine whether it will grant the US DoJ’s request to extradite Wanzhou in accordance with the US-Canada mutual-extradition agreement.
On Wednesday, with tensions between the US and China flaring and Huawei back in the headlines, a Canadian judge has ruled that the allegations brought against Meng by the DoJ would constitute crimes in Canada. That hurdle was a critical legal threshold: If the judge had ruled otherwise, Meng likely would have been freed, and extradition would likely be off the table.
BREAKING Judge in #MengWanzhou case rules in favour of Crown – her alleged actions would be considered a crime in Canada. Extradition process continues. #Huawei @CTVNewsVancouver pic.twitter.com/JeMweAhfTF
— David Molko (@molkoreports) May 27, 2020
Just minutes after the decision, Beijing – via the Global Times – has already responded.
Canadian court’s ruling on #Huawei exec #MengWanzhou unjustified, shows Canada’s judicial system has been hijacked by politics and #US bullying tactics, and may lead to “worst-ever” China-Canada ties: experts https://t.co/mjfnGOmErhhttps://t.co/gDf1OxlsM3
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) May 27, 2020
Meng was arrested when she landed in Vancouver on Dec. 1, 2018, while President Trump was sitting down to dinner with President Xi in Buenos Aires during a notable episode that re-started trade talks between the world’s two largest economies. Shortly afterward, Trump suggested that she could become a political bargaining chip in the trade talks.
Of course, that was long before the coronavirus. We suspect that whatever happens now, if Meng lands in the US, prosecutors probably won’t be very amenable to a generous deal.