Editor's note: Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei, a Chinese high-tech company, has been released and returned home after being detained in Canada for nearly three years. The case, to some extent, has reflected the China-U.S. relations under both the Trump and Biden administrations. Huo Zhengxin, a law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, shares his views on Meng Wanzhou's case. The opinions expressed in the video are his own, and not necessarily those of CGTN.
CGTN: What kind of legal considerations does the Meng Wanzhou incident bring?
Huo Zhengxin: In December 2018, Meng Wanzhou was detained by the Canadian authorities when she transferred at Vancouver airport. The Canadian authorities detained her at the request of the United States because the United States alleged that Meng Wanzhou had committed the crimes of wire [fraud] and bank fraud, and also committed the crime of violating its Iran-related sanctions law. And later, the U.S. government submitted a record of the case to the Canadian courts to request Canada to extradite Meng Wanzhou to the United States. As you know, there is a bilateral extradition agreement between the U.S. and Canada.
So technically, it seems that Canada has the legal duty to do so at the request of the United States. However, it should be noted that in order to extradite a suspect, the principle of "double criminality" should be met. Or in other words, in order to extradite Meng Wanzhou, there must be evidence to show that the actions or the behaviors of Meng Wanzhou are a criminal offense under both Canadian law and American law.
The U.S. has an Iran sanctions law. However, such a law does not exist in Canada. So, the U.S. government tried to [emphasize] that Meng Wanzhou has committed the crimes of bank and wire fraud before the Canadian courts. Since then, Meng Wanzhou has started a very difficult legal battle before these Canadian courts, and it's a very long extradition case.
So, from this case, we can find that from the very beginning, the U.S. government tried to target Meng Wanzhou, the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of Huawei, with its notorious "Long Arm jurisdiction." And Canada, in this case, was only used as a means to implement [the U.S.'s] Long Arm jurisdiction.
So, from the very beginning, we believed that Meng Wanzhou is a political [hostage]. When Donald Trump was the president of the U.S., he said that he would intervene if [it] benefited the U.S. national interest and would help his government to reach a trade deal with China. So, from the very beginning, it was not a real legal case. It was a politicized [case] from the very beginning.
CGTN: Why did Trump want Meng Wanzhou arrested, and why did the Biden administration decide to drop the case now?
Huo: When Trump was in office, his government waged a trade war with China, and his government tried to target Huawei, a leading high-tech company, because the Trump administration believed that Huawei had become a challenge to the United States in the 5G technology area. And arresting Meng Wanzhou is a part of the plot to target Huawei, this Chinese company. But I should say that it's quite rare to target a company's executive instead of the company itself. So, in this case, I should say that the Trump administration had gone too far. This also may explain why the Biden administration decided to drop the case.
I think there are a couple of reasons: The first is that the arrest of Meng Wanzhou has put the U.S. in a very difficult situation because the whole world now sees that the U.S. has weaponized its domestic laws to realize its policies. So, it's not a good thing to build an image for the United States. The second is that the arrest – the detention – of Meng Wanzhou in Canada put Canada, America's ally, in a very helpless situation.
And now, Biden is trying to rebuild its relationship with its ally. So, dropping the case also helps Canada to get out of the trouble. And last but not least, I think that recently, President Biden and President Xi Jinping had a phone call. In that phone call, the two presidents also mentioned that it is necessary to maintain a sound relationship between the two powers. So, this also paved the way for the solution of this case.
I do hope that the two countries can build a very good relationship, and I do hope that Meng Wanzhou's case has ended. It would be helpful to build a good relationship between the two countries, but I should say that the future still depends on how many changes the U.S. is willing to make in its policy toward China.
Interviewer: Yang Chuchu
Video editor: Feng Ran
Graphic designer: Wang Xinlei
Managing editors: Yang Chuchu, She Ziyi
Associate producer: Zhang Peijin
Senior producer: Bi Jianlu
Managing director: Mei Yan
(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.)