Meng’s legal team had been argued that the alleged behavior might not be the same as fraud in Canada because it was related to U.S. economic sanctions against Iran, which has not been overthrown by the Canadian government.
But B.C. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Heather Holmes said Canadian law determined whether the alleged action was, in “essence,” the same as fraud and therefore he could not agree with Meng’s argument.
“I conclude that, as a matter of law, the double criminality requirements for extradition can be met in this case,” Holmes said in his ruling. “MS. Therefore the Meng application was rejected.”
Meng is expected to continue to fight extradition, and experts say the process could take years.
His case has made Canada an uncomfortable place between two warring superpowers – China and the United States.
The arrest of the chief financial officer of the Chinese technology giant, who is also the daughter of the company’s founder, has angered Beijing.
Chinese Embassy in Ottawa tweeted a statement Wednesday night to express “strong dissatisfaction and strong opposition” to the court’s decision, calling the Meng case “a serious political incident.”
“The United States and Canada, by abusing their bilateral extradition treaty and arbitrarily taking harsh measures against Meng Wanzhou, violate the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese citizen,” the embassy said. “The goal of the United States is to bring down Huawei and other Chinese high-tech companies, and Canada has acted in the process as an accomplice.”
The embassy asked Canada to immediately release Mr. Meng and warned him “not to go any further in the wrong direction.”
Disputes with China have negative consequences for Canada.
A few days after Meng arrested, Chinese authorities arrested Canadian citizen Michael Kovrig, a leave diplomat, and businessman Michael Spavor on charges of jeopardizing China’s national security. The two men were held behind bars in China with limited access to consular services and almost no contact with their families.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called their arbitrary detention and urged their release. He also sought help from the international community – including from the Trump administration – to pressure China.
Since Meng’s arrest, Trudeau has repeatedly insisted that the Canadian justice system will handle her case fairly and transparently. He said that the Canadian detention was in “retaliation” for Canada’s independent justice system.
“One of the good things about having a truly independent justice system is that we don’t need to apologize or explain the decisions taken by our independent justice system,” Trudeau told reporters on Tuesday.
“We have confidence in the system, in its independence, and we will of course continue to adhere to and maintain our system.”
The Trudeau government has also sought a pardon for a third Canadian, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, who faces the death penalty in China for drug smuggling. Schellenberg’s initial 15-month sentence was reconsidered last year by a Chinese court after Meng’s arrest.
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman told reporters on Tuesday that Chinese authorities ensured the legal rights of Kovrig and Spavor.
“China urges Canadians to respect the rule of law and the sovereignty of Chinese justice and stop making irresponsible statements,” Zhao Lijian said in a clear reference to Trudeau’s criticism.
Shortly after Meng’s arrest, President Donald Trump complicated the problem by speculating in an interview with Reuters about interference in Meng’s case if it would help him reach a trade agreement with China.
The Chinese government’s response to Meng’s arrest has also dealt an economic blow to Canada. China stopped imports of Canada’s main agricultural products, including canola seeds.
The background for the Meng case also directly involved his company, Huawei.
The Trudeau government has still not made the long-awaited decision whether to ban or limit the use of Huawei equipment in its 5G wireless infrastructure. Canada is the only member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance that has not yet announced its position – and has come under pressure from the Trump administration to block Huawei from 5G.
A few days after Meng’s arrest, the then Chinese ambassador to Ottawa warned of “impact” if Canada excluded Huawei equipment from its 5G network.
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