infamously arrested last month in Vancouver at the request of the United States, arguing that she has “quite good arguments” on her side for fighting extradition.anada’s ambassador to China has alarmed fellow Canadian officials by vocally sticking up for Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was
“One, political involvement by comments from Donald Trump in her case. Two, there’s an extraterritorial aspect to her case, and three, there’s the issue of Iran sanctions which are involved in her case, and Canada does not sign on to these Iran sanctions. So I think she has some strong arguments that she can make before a judge,” John McCallum said to kick off a press conference on Tuesday in Ontario that was held exclusively for Chinese-language reporters from Canadian media and Chinese state-run media.
“I know this has angered China, but we have a system of extradition treaty, a system of rules of law, which are above the government,” he continued. “The government cannot change these things, and as I said, I think Ms. Meng has quite a strong case.”
— Michel Boyer (@BoyerMichel) January 23, 2019
During the conference, which, again, was given without notifying mainstream media outlets, McCallum, who has served as the Canadian ambassador to China since 2017, said that he knows Chinese President Xi Jinping was very angry about Meng’s detention but didn’t know exactly why. “Maybe it’s because Huawei is a national flagship company of China,” he speculated. “It’s not just any company; it’s a special Chinese company. So, maybe that is why he is so angry.”
McCallum’s comments have come as quite a shock as Canadian officials have studiously avoided discussing Meng’s case in any detail. When asked if he agreed with McCallum’s position, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dodged out of the way of the question, saying: “We have always highlighted that Canada is a country of the rule of law and we will make sure that the rule of law is properly and fully followed. That, of course, includes the opportunity for her to mount a strong defense. That is part of our justice system.”
Other Canadian officials have been less diplomatic in their response to McCallum’s stance. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, for instance, declared that he would fire McCallum. “The situation with China right now is at a very strained point,” Scheer said. “That goes without saying. We have to be very, very careful as a country and our government needs to be taking this very, very seriously.”
"If I were Prime Minister, I would fire John McCallum," says @AndrewScheer after @HonJohnMcCallum's comments that Huawei executive has 'quite good arguments on her side' #cdnpoli #scheer #MengWanzhou pic.twitter.com/O3YPyQBG4W
— Power & Politics (@PnPCBC) January 23, 2019
Meng’s arrest has infuriated Beijing which had warned that Canada will face “serious consequences” if she was not quickly released. One week later, two Canadian nationals were detained in China on suspicion of “engaging in activities harming China’s national security.” A month after that, a Canadian drug smuggler who was arrested in China had his sentence changed from 15 years in prison to death.
Beijing has similarly warned the US not to proceed with Meng’s extradition. However, the US has told Canada that it will issue a formal extradition request. It has until January 30th to do so.