International controversy involves the arrest of Meng Wanzhou
By Tania Arora, Staff Reporter
What happens when you are on a flight to another destination and you get arrested during a layover?
Meng Wanzhou, Chief Financial Officer of Huawei, is currently in this predicament. The case here is all about power and money, which has caused a worldwide stir. Vancouver seems to be in the spotlight after what has become an international controversy.
Also known as Sabrina Meng and Cathy Meng, this Chinese executive is one of the board members of Huawei. The telecom giant—which is one of the China’s largest private companies—was founded by Meng’s father Ren Zhengfei.
Canada was not directly involved with the case but had to arrest Meng on December 1, 2018 due to the Canada-US Extradition Treaty. This treaty is intended to assist both countries in arresting criminals who are not on local soil.
The feud between Canada and China seems to be getting worse: China has so far detained at least two Canadians over alleged security threats and ordered the execution of Canadian Robert Schellenberg, who had been previously given a 15-year sentence for drug smuggling.
Saksham Thakkar, an international student at Douglas College, said in an interview with the Other Press, “One can easily see [the] US slipping out of the whole situation.”
Meng is accused of using a shell company to do business with Iran, in violation of US sanctions against Iran.
“Here, the countries involved are Iran and [the] US, and Meng is from China,” said Thakkar. “Dirt is spilled upon Canada for no reason. The only fault of the country was to sign the treaty with [the] US. It has become unsafe for Canadians to now travel to China.”
China has been demanding the release of its citizen since the arrest. Since being released on a $10-million bail, Meng has been kept under tight scrutiny at an unknown location in Vancouver. Her each and every movement is being monitored.
On December 21 of last year, Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, released an official statement regarding the issue of Canadian citizens held by China.
“Canada is a country governed by the rule of law. Canada is conducting a fair, unbiased, and transparent legal proceeding with respect to Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer,” said Freeland. “Canada respects its international legal commitments, including by honouring its extradition treaty with the United States. The rule of law is fundamental to all free societies; we will defend and uphold this principle. We are deeply concerned by the arbitrary detention by Chinese authorities of two Canadians earlier this month and call for their immediate release.”
It seems totally uncertain as to how long will it take for the US to complete its investigation and Canada to release Meng. However, as the proceedings stretch on, China may continue to arrest Canadians abroad.
Thakkar added that he thinks this controversy will have lasting effects on the two countries.
“China is all set to fight for it,” he said. “It won’t remain silent—and in the whole process the harm would be suffered by no one but Canada. This will affect the long-term relations between Canada and China.”