B.C. Court Rules on Meng Wanzhou’s Case

B.C. court rules to proceed with Meng’s extradition process . . . 

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled today that the requirement for Meng Wanzhou’s extradition to the U.S. “is capable of being met,” and thereby allowed the continuation of Meng’s extradition process. Huawei’s CFO was arrested in Vancouver in December 2018 and at the request of U.S. authorities for breaching sanctions on Iran. Meng had applied for dismissal of the case on the grounds that her actions would not be considered criminal in Canada, thereby failing to meet the “double criminality” requirement necessary for extradition. The ruling does not imply that Meng will be extradited to the U.S. right away. She will continue living under house arrest and is scheduled to return to court on June 15 for hearings on alleged abuse of process while arrested at the Vancouver airport.

Significant implications for Canada-China relations . . .

Meng’s arrest had already strained Canada-China relations, which are now expected to further deteriorate following today’s ruling. Beijing has rejected Ottawa’s explanations that the Meng case is a matter of rule of law for Canada’s judiciary system in which decision-makers cannot intervene, attributing political motivations of falling in line with the U.S. On Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian warned Canada to release Meng to avoid further deterioration in bilateral relations. The Global Times, a pro-Chinese Communist Party newspaper, immediately released an article criticizing the decision and suggesting that the ruling will make the bilateral relationship worse than ever.

What’s next in Canada-China relations?

Ottawa faces difficulties on all fronts in its relations with China. Beijing, which has already detained two Canadians and implemented de facto import bans on Canadian agricultural products, is expected to retaliate somehow to the court ruling. Pubic opinion in Canada of China has plummeted, which makes China-related policymaking challenging. A survey conducted in March 2019 revealed that only 22 per cent of Canadians had a favourable opinion of China, down from 36 per cent in 2017. Further, Ottawa’s balancing of relations between Beijing and Washington is increasingly more difficult, as the tension between the two superpowers rises over trade, technology, and now Hong Kong. For instance, Canada’s decision on Huawei 5G will end up enraging either Beijing or Washington. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Ottawa faces tumultuousness with today’s ruling from Vancouver.