China says ‘utterly opposes’ Canada move to approve extradition hearing of top Huawei chief
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China says ‘utterly opposes’ Canada move to approve extradition hearing of top Huawei chief

Meng, 47, was detained at a Vancouver airport on December 1 last year over the charge filed by the US that Huawei bypassed unilateral US sanctions against Iran, but was freed from jail ten days later on a bail of 10 million Canadian dollars (7.5 million US dollars) pending trial, on condition that she must wear an ankle monitor and stay in Canada. Beijing was infuriated by her detention and house arrest and threatened Ottawa with due consequences if Meng was not released immediately. It further strongly warned the Canadian authorities not to extradite her to the US. On Friday, however, the Department of Justice Canada announced that it would allow an extradition hearing to proceed against Meng, adding that she would appear in a Vancouver court at 10 a.m. Pacific time (1800 GMT) on March 6, when a date would be set for her extradition hearing. “The department is satisfied that ... there is sufficient evidence to be put before an extradition judge for decision,” the department statement further said. The decision drew an immediate response from the Chinese Embassy in Canada that lambasted the move in a statement, saying Beijing was “utterly dissatisfied with and firmly opposes” Canada’s decision. It also branded the move as “a political persecution against a Chinese high-tech enterprise.” “The so-called ‘rule of law’ and "judicial independence" asserted by Canada cannot cover up the mistakes made by the Canadian side on the case of Meng Wanzhou,” the statement further read, urging Ottawa to “immediately release” her “in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Extradition Act of Canada.” The decision made by the Canadian authorities would certainly sour Ottawa-Beijing already strained relations.    Following Meng’s detention, China arrested two Canadian citizens on national security grounds and a Chinese court later sentenced to death another Canadian national who previously had been jailed for drug smuggling. Huawei, one of the world's largest telecommunications equipment and services providers, has come under growing scrutiny by Western governments based on allegations of espionage activities on behalf of the Beijing government. Earlier this year, Australia, New Zealand and Britain rejected some of the company's services over alleged security concerns. The Huawei executive’s arrest further intensified US-China tensions despite an apparent truce in their trade war, leading to the summoning of both the Canadian and US ambassadors by Beijing later in December. US President Donald Trump initiated what is effectively a trade war with China in April last year, when he first imposed unusually heavy tariffs on imports from the Asian country. Beijing later responded with retaliatory tariffs of its own.

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