The world is watching Canada

China Plus Published: 2018-12-13 01:07:26
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Note: The following is an edited translation of a commentary from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs."

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was granted bail by the high court of the Canadian province of British Columbia on Tuesday. The bail was made subject to a guarantee of 10 million Canadian dollars, 7 million of which is in cash, and 3 million in property, plus five bailsmen.

It's undoubtedly a relief for both Meng herself and for her family, as well as her company and the Chinese people. It is a proper and commendable move by the Canadian side, a step in the right direction towards resolving the whole issue.

Supporters hold signs and Chinese flags outside British Columbia Supreme Court during the third day of a bail hearing for Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, in Vancouver, on Tuesday December 11, 2018. [Photo: IC]

Supporters hold signs and Chinese flags outside British Columbia Supreme Court during the third day of a bail hearing for Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, in Vancouver, on Tuesday December 11, 2018. [Photo: IC]

However, there's still a long way to go before Ms Meng gains her freedom. The US side could request extradition before January 8th next year, before Meng is next due in court on February 6th.

If extradited to the US and found guilty, she could face up to 30 years in prison.

Huawei entered the Canadian market in 2008. As local media has reported, there has been no record of law breaking by Huawei in Canada. Rather, the Chinese company has set up research and development centers in Ottawa, Toronto and Waterloo, creating more than 500 local jobs. Huawei is also a sponsor of the country's highest rated TV program "Hockey Night in Canada".

Canada is well known as a peace-loving country. It now, however, "enforces the law" on behalf of the United States, which is absurd and hard to understand. This unwise act will bring about consequences to Canada, unless it releases Ms Meng as soon as possible.

Without a doubt, Canada's rush to arrest Ms Meng has done damage to Sino-Canadian ties, which will affect or even cost the country's efforts to expand its exports to China and to attract more Chinese tourists. This is the most direct harm the issue does to Canada. Meanwhile, the image of the country will be damaged in the eyes of the Chinese people. It is high time then for the Canadian side to size up the situation and take effective measures to avoid causing unnecessary troubles for its relationship with China. Canada does not have to set a trap for itself.

A number of western countries have long been hostile to Huawei, claiming that there’s a close tie between the company and the Chinese government, based on its founder being a veteran from the Chinese military. For this, Huawei became the most censured multinational enterprise. But the detractors have never provided any hard evidence of wrongdoing by Huawei. This, the Canadian side needs to be very clear about.

Such groundless accusations show that Huawei has nothing to hide, and the countries involved are simply worried about its rapid growth.

The coverage in the world’s major media has been consistent in attributing the detention of Meng Wanzhou to a certain number of countries’ attempt to block the rise of Huawei and the progress of China's science and technology industry. Evidently, this exposes an ulterior motive of these countries.

It is impossible for Canada not to be aware of this background. However, Ottawa still chooses to play along, ignoring its own sovereignty and the Sino-Canadian relationship, and openly detaining a Chinese citizen. China has no choice but to respond in a proactive and self-defensive way in order to maintain a balanced Sino-Canadian relationship and a fair multilateral system. The Chinese people are prepared and the Canadian side is advised not to cherish any unrealistic and wishful thinking.

For many times, the United States has applied its domestic law and taken so-called “legal measures” against individual executives of foreign companies, including freezing their property. There will be a slew of negative impacts generated by Canada's rash performance as a US hatchet man by detaining the Huawei executive. One of the negative impacts is that it will create panic among multinational executives. The un-asked question here is: if a country started to kidnap individuals related to certain companies for political reasons, might I be the next target? A Chinese businesswoman has been kidnaped. Will it happen to business executives of other countries? Canada's move is extremely irresponsible. Does it still offer a favorable environment for free investment and trade?

In order to prevent the Meng Wanzhou incident from causing more harm to the China-Canada relationship, to safeguard international fairness and justice, and to ensure a safe global trading environment, Canada needs to weigh matters carefully. We hope it will be able to correct its erroneous act promptly, make more contributions to multilateralism and free trade, win global respect and trust, and not be an accomplice to unilateralism and long-arm jurisdiction.

It would be a wise decision to release Meng Wanzhou at the earliest possible date. The world is watching Canada.

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LU Xiankun Professor LU Xiankun is Managing Director of LEDECO Geneva and Associate Partner of IDEAS Centre Geneva. He is Emeritus Professor of China Institute for WTO Studies of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and Wuhan University (WHU) of China and visiting professor or senior research fellow of some other universities and think tanks in China and Europe. He also sits in management of some international business associations and companies, including as Senior Vice President of Shenzhen UEB Technology LTD., a leading e-commerce company of China. Previously, Mr. LU was senior official of Chinese Ministry of Commerce and senior diplomat posted in Europe, including in Geneva as Counsellor and Head of Division of the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO and in Brussels as Commercial Secretary of the Permanent Mission of China to the EU. Benjamin Cavender Benjamin Cavender is a Shanghai based consultant with more than 11 years of experience helping companies understand consumer behavior and develop go to market strategies for China. He is a frequent speaker on economic and consumer trends in China and is often featured on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Channel News Asia. Sara Hsu Sara Hsu is an associate professor from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is a regular commentator on Chinese economy. Xu Qinduo Xu Qinduo is CRI's former chief correspondent to Washington DC, the United States. He works as the producer, host and commentator for TODAY, a flagship talk show on current affairs. Mr. Xu contributes regularly to English-language newspapers including Shenzhen Daily and Global Times as well as Chinese-language radio and TV services. Lin Shaowen A radio person, Mr. Lin Shaowen is strongly interested in international relations and Chinese politics. As China is quite often misunderstood in the rest of the world, he feels the need to better present the true picture of the country, the policies and meanings. So he talks a lot and is often seen debating. Then friends find a critical Lin Shaowen criticizing and criticized. George N. Tzogopoulos Dr George N. Tzogopoulos is an expert in media and politics/international relations as well as Chinese affairs. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre International de Européenne (CIFE) and Visiting Lecturer at the European Institute affiliated with it and is teaching international relations at the Department of Law of the Democritus University of Thrace. George is the author of two books: US Foreign Policy in the European Media: Framing the Rise and Fall of Neoconservatism (IB TAURIS) and The Greek Crisis in the Media: Stereotyping in the International Press (Ashgate) as well as the founder of, an institutional partner of CRI Greek. David Morris David Morris is the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner in China, a former Australian diplomat and senior political adviser. Harvey Dzodin After a distinguished career in the US government and American media Dr. Harvey Dzodin is now a Beijing-based freelance columnist for several media outlets. While living in Beijing, he has published over 200 columns with an emphasis on arts, culture and the Belt & Road initiative. He is also a sought-after speaker and advisor in China and abroad. He currently serves as Nonresident Research Fellow of the think tank Center for China and Globalization and Senior Advisor of Tsinghua University National Image Research Center specializing in city branding. Dr. Dzodin was a political appointee of President Jimmy Carter and served as lawyer to a presidential commission. Upon the nomination of the White House and the US State Department he served at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria. He was Director and Vice President of the ABC Television in New York for more than two decades.