China says Canada should ‘draw lessons’ from Huawei exec case

The release of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou shows China’s strength and Canada should “draw lessons,” China’s foreign ministry said on Monday, after state media called it an opportunity for a reboot of bilateral relations.

Meng landed in Huawei’s home city of Shenzhen aboard a government-chartered plane on Saturday to much fanfare, ending her near three-year US extradition fight, the same day two Canadians detained by Beijing shortly after Meng’s 2018 detention returned home.

Meng’s return shows the ability of the Chinese government and ruling Communist Party to protect its citizens, companies, and interests, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a regular daily briefing.

The two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who had been imprisoned on espionage accusations, left China within hours of Meng’s release from house arrest.

The cases involving the Canadians were “completely different” from Meng’s, which was a case of “political persecution,” Hua said.

“Canada should draw lessons and act according to its own interests,” she added.

Canada had called the arrest of the two an act of “hostage diplomacy,” a characterisation China repeatedly denied.

The Global Times late on Sunday said that Kovrig and Spavor had “confessed their guilt” and were released on bail for medical reasons before departing China.

Spavor was accused of supplying photographs of military equipment to Kovrig and sentenced to 11 years in jail in August. Kovrig had been awaiting sentencing.

Meng’s release was an opportunity to improve relations with Canada and the United States but “toxic political rhetoric” could still “poison” the atmosphere, China’s Global Times tabloid said earlier on Monday.

“The relaxation of positions by both sides is a positive but limited development in China-US relations and is less than significant in the big scheme of things,” said Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Beijing’s Renmin University.

“There is no indication that Washington is going to soften on the trade war,” Shi said. “I don’t see China immediately relaxing trade restrictions against Canada either.”

Meng was allowed to go home after reaching an agreement with US prosecutors on Friday to end a bank fraud case against her.

(Reuters)

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