EYESHENZHEN  /   Opinion

Lifting high the torch of justice to light the way forward —On the first anniversary of Meng Wanzhou's arrest

Writer: Han Ximin  |  Editor: Jane Chen  |  From: EyeShenzhen 

On Dec. 1, 2018, Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was unlawfully detained by Canadian authorities at the request of the United States while changing planes at Vancouver International Airport. It has been a year since her arrest, and she is still stuck in Canada.

Although the U.S. paints the story as a normal criminal case, its intent to contain Huawei using its national power has long been obvious through its actions. Meng's arrest is an entirely political move that the U.S. has taken to contain Huawei and find itself yet another bargaining chip. This bears the mark of geopolitics and reflects a Cold War mentality.

The Globe and Mail revealed in its Nov. 30 article titled "Power Play: Inside the final hours that led to the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou" that "One month before Ms. Meng's arrest, the U.S. government began publicly laying the groundwork for going after the Huawei executive." According to Reuters and other media outlets, the U.S. has taken a series of actions against Huawei over the past year. For example, members of U.S. Congress have urged AT&T to sever business ties with Huawei and proposed new laws to prevent the federal government from buying equipment from Huawei and some other companies. The U.S. Department of Justice has opened criminal investigations into Huawei for alleged violations of Iran sanctions. President Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law, excluding Huawei from the government's contractor list. At the same time, the U.S. has repeatedly pressured countries like Canada, the U.K., Germany, Japan and Australia to shun Huawei equipment.

The Globe and Mail article also recounted how Canada was dragged into this conflict by the U.S. Canada has disclosed only limited evidence, but the records of court hearings and disclosed materials show that Canadian authorities' arrest of Meng at the airport constituted a serious abuse of process.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) committed a series of violations when detaining Meng: disobeying the court order, altering the arrest plan, unlawfully searching baggage and seizing electronic devices in the baggage, and unlawfully sharing identifying information about the seized devices with the U.S.

The CBSA, RCMP, and Department of Justice of Canada closely cooperated with U.S. law enforcement agencies throughout the arrest. Canadian authorities did not intervene or stop the misconduct despite knowing that it seriously infringed upon Meng's rights.

According to Canadian law, the U.S. allegations against Meng do not constitute a crime. The extradition request violates a core principle of Canadian extradition law — the double criminality condition.

Canada has a long tradition of valuing procedural transparency and respecting the rule of law. It should proactively disclose relevant evidence and let the law gauge whether Meng's arrest is a normal extradition case or a political maneuver involving collusion and conspiracy between the judicial authorities. We believe that as more evidence is disclosed, the truth will reveal itself. 

At the first anniversary of Meng's arrest, Canada also has an important choice to make: either continuing to submit to U.S. pressure and manipulation, or waking up and restoring its reputation as a state ruled by law. Canada must be aware that releasing Meng as soon as possible is the smarter choice, and the only choice.

We hope these countries can lift high the torch of justice, illuminating the truth and sending Meng home soon.