Meng Wanzhou Photo:VCG
As August 26 marks 1,000 days since Huawei's Meng Wanzhou was detained in Canada, the Global Times launched an online petition on Wednesday demanding her immediate release.
The incident is blatant political persecution of a Chinese citizen and another example of the US government's unjustified crackdown on Chinese companies and its attempts to curb the development of China's high-tech industry, according to the petition. In this process, the Canadian government is a willing accomplice, said the petition.
Also on Wednesday, the Global Times released an open letter to Canadian Ambassador to China Dominic Barton, demanding Meng's immediate and unconditional release.
At the request of the US government, the Canadian government on December 1, 2018 illegally detained Meng, who is also the chief financial officer (CFO) of Chinese company Huawei Technologies, based on so-called accusations of fraud imposed by the US.
Meng's lawyers concluded their submissions at the extradition proceedings on Tuesday with a final attempt to end the case by building on an "evidentiary vacuum," claiming that the US fraud charges simply aren't valid. The case is also widely seen as an unusual one with a number of points of suspicion.
During the latest hearings, the defense team of Meng pointed out that in Canada's legal history, there was never a fraud case in which the government held the alleged perpetrator accountable in the absence of actual losses.
She was accused of defrauding HSBC as she was said to have "lied to the bank about the Chinese company's business in Iran," and the charges center on a PowerPoint presentation that the CFO gave to the bank in a steakhouse in Hong Kong in 2013.
However, Meng's lawyers claim that the US deliberately omitted two slides from the PowerPoint presentation, which showed that Meng didn't mislead the bank.
The defense holds that Meng's presentation did not expose HSBC to any real deprivation or any reputational and loan loss, which is an evidentiary vacuum in this case, or sanctions risks, according to a court note obtained by the Global Times on Wednesday.
When Meng presented evidence to disprove the US government's false accusations, and even HSBC agreed to provide relevant materials to the court to help prove Meng's innocence, Canada completely ignored it and pushed forward with so-called extradition procedures.
It's bizarre for legal experts in Canada to see the legal procedures lasting an unusually long time for a fraud case, with no actual harm and misrepresented facts, further underscoring the political nature of the case.
The stairway to extradition in the case has been unnecessarily long and convoluted because successive ministers of justice have not had the courage or political will to intervene to stop it, as they are entitled to do at any time under the Extradition Act, Gary Botting, an extradition lawyer and author of Canadian Extradition Law Practice, told the Global Times in a recent interview.
The International Assistance Group (IAG) of the Department of Justice was understandably reluctant to advise the minister to intervene in Meng's contemporaneous case, Botting sad, noting that acting like robots controlled by the US, the IAG issued a provisional arrest warrant against her.
"In effect, the US said 'Jump!' and the Canadian bureaucrats asked meekly, 'How high?'," the Canadian legal expert said.
Some Canadian lawmakers and officials have been constantly calling for Meng's release as they believe that her case was highly politicized that led to a deteriorating Canada-China relationship.
It was ironic and rare when the so-called victim of this fraud case - HSBC - agreed to provide relevant materials to the court to help prove Meng's innocence, the Global Times said in the open letter to the Canadian diplomat Barton.
"Even worse was when former US president Donald Trump, ignoring so-called legal procedures in the US and Canada, blatantly took the case of Meng as a bargaining chip in a geopolitical game with China," the letter said.
Trump wanted a "ransom" for Meng's freedom, her lawyer was quoted as saying in media reports earlier in August. Botting also noted that the case was a political gambit from the outset in a bid to throw cold water on Huawei's aspirations to promote its 5G technology.
"The Canadian government has deviated from fairness and justice, and seriously violated the human rights of a Chinese citizen," the petition said.