Meng Wanzhou arrest: A year of strained Canada-China ties

File photo showing Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou at a session of the VTB Capital Investment Forum Russia Calling! in Moscow, Russia October 2, 2014. — Reuters pic
File photo showing Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou at a session of the VTB Capital Investment Forum Russia Calling! in Moscow, Russia October 2, 2014. — Reuters pic

OTTAWA, Jan 17 — The arrest on a US warrant of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on December 1, 2018 in Vancouver has sparked an unprecedented diplomatic row between Canada and China.

Here is a timeline:

August 2018

On August 22, a New York court issues an arrest warrant for Meng Wanzhou, Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei’s number two, affectionately called the “Princess of Huawei.”

The American justice department accuses her of having lied to HSBC about Huawei’s relationship with its Iran-based affiliate Skycom, putting the bank at risk of violating US sanctions against Iran.

December 2018

On December 1, Meng Wanzhou is arrested by Canadian police at the Vancouver airport during a flight stopover from Hong Kong to Mexico. The arrest is made public on December 5, prompting the Chinese Embassy in Canada to call for her immediate release.

On December 6, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau assures that there has been no “political intervention” by Ottawa and affirms the independence of the judicial system in dealing with the US extradition request.

Two days later, on December 8, China threatens Canada over what China’s Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng calls an “unconscionable and vile” detention of Meng and threatens severe consequences.

On December 10, China arrests two Canadians, former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor. Beijing says the arrests are unrelated to the Meng Wanzhou case, but the move is widely viewed as retaliation.

The following day, on December 11, Meng is released on bail and ordered to live at one of her two luxury homes in Vancouver while awaiting an extradition hearing. She must wear an electronic monitoring anklet and abide by a curfew.

US President Donald Trump says in an interview that he could intervene in the case if it serves the interests of the United States in trade negotiations with China.

On December 21, Ottawa denounces China’s “arbitrary detention” of the two Canadians and calls for their immediate release.

They are detained in difficult conditions, without access to a lawyer, in isolation with lights on day and night, according to sources close to the case.

January 2019

On January 26, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dismisses Canada’s ambassador to China, John McCallum, for having said in an interview with Chinese media that Meng had solid grounds to contest her extradition to the US, citing Trump’s remarks that appeared to politicize the legal case.

March 2019

On March 6, Beijing cites “hazardous pests” found in Canadian shipments of canola to justify a ban on imports of the seed used to make cooking oil, biodiesel and used for animal feed, stoking diplomatic tensions.

June 2019

China suspends all imports of Canadian beef and pork on June 26, saying it had uncovered false veterinary health certificates attached to a shipment of pork, raising concerns among livestock breeders. Beef producers are baffled as to why they are included in the ban.

November 2019

On November 6, Beijing announces it will lift the ban and resume Canadian meat imports while continuing to press for Meng’s release.

January 2020 

On January 13, a Canadian judge rejects a request by a media consortium to broadcast live Meng’s extradition hearing. — AFP

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