In cased you missed it: China has made veiled threats in Canada's direction this week after officers in Vancouver arrested Meng Wanzhou, an executive of Chinese tech company Huawei, at the beginning of the month. She is not only an exec but the daughter of the founder of Huawei, the tech giant that managed to surpass Apple in sales.
The arrest was done in accordance with an American warrant out for Wanzhou; the allegations include violating sanctions put on Iran.
TL;DR After the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver, police detained two Canadians in Beijing for posing a "danger" to national security. Wanzhou's bail was set at $10 million while Chinese media continues to report threats of a "worse revenge" if Canada rules for extradition to the United States on February 6th.
When Meng Wanzhou landed in Vancouver last week, she was met by Canadian officers responding to the warrant placed on her for multiple criminal charges in the United states.
Nothing has yet been proven in court but Wanzhou did face a judge for a bail hearing. Her lawyer insists that she and the company Huawei both engaged in business with Iran only in line with the laws and sanctions that have been put in place.
The arrest of the high-profile Chinese business woman was quick to draw a reaction from Chinese officials. Wanzhou is at risk of being extradited to the United States, where she would face the charges laid against her.
China's response to Wanzhou's arrest was a press conference in which the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson explained that two Canadian citizens had been taken into custody for separate acts that endangered "national security" in China.
The Canadians in question are Michael Kovig and Michael Spavor, a diplomat and entrepreneur, respectively.
China is now essentially on a kidnapping spree to squeeze Canada https://t.co/f31NiKoNNr— Shashank Joshi (@shashj) December 13, 2018
However, China has made it clear that their hopes lie on Canada's upcoming decision on extradition. Another Chinese media outlet warned that, should Meng be sent to the U.S., China would respond with a vengeance, implying that Spavor and Kovig aren't simply detainees, but hostages. If Canada decides to extradite Meng to the States, then the true retaliation will begin.
While we can't know what exactly Beijing considers a "worse" form of revenge, the history of China-based companies being invovled in "cyber espionage" is well known.
Here's a chilling video from @HuXijin_GT, editor of the nationalist Global Times, warning that China's revenge against Canada "will be far worse than detaining a Canadian" (or, presumably, two.) https://t.co/VpwXwG5QZ3 pic.twitter.com/zzdxC5uL9K— Anna Fifield (@annafifield) December 13, 2018
In 2015, the United States, under President Obama, signed an agreement with Chinese President Xi JinPing to minimize commercial and buisiness-related cyber espionage and theft. Under President Trump, however, there seems to be a new set of rules in play, and interference has escalated.
Reuters spoke in October of this year of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security publication that included an alert that the cyberhacker group, "cloudhopper," was potentially involved with the Chinese govermnment.
When the world is a global market, like it is today, it is inevitbale that business becomes political and the lines between the market and the government are continuously blurred, especially in a country like China. So while Trudeau hopes to avoid "politicizing" the issue of extradition, it's important to consider the way in which Canada will continue to be impacted if at odds with China.
In 2013, a report by Mandiat exposed APT1, a China-based group, as a "multi-year, enterprise-scale computer espionage campaign," that had links to the People's Liberatoin Army. The close ties between cyber experts and government officials makes clear their connection and collusion within China and abroad.
In trade and politics, information in the wrong hands can have a devastating impact, especially in a global economy that is so politically charged. As the U.S. seeks to mitigate their own vulnerabilities, Canada must consider its own place on the international stage.
The detention of #Huawei CFO is not merely a judicial case, but a premeditated political act in which the US wields its regime power to hunt a Chinese high-tech company out of political consideration: China's ambassador to Canada. Read his signed article: https://t.co/mR9wg3yBXU pic.twitter.com/LZeGOvS0NI— People's Daily,China (@PDChina) December 14, 2018
As for the two Canadian citizens in China right now, Canada's ambassador to China, John McCallum, is on the scene. He has met with Michael Kovig as of this morning and is pushing to ensure that Michael Spavor receives his consular rights.
Canada's Tourism Minister, on the other hand, will not be visiting China as previously planned. The trip was meant to mark the year end and the increased efforts to bolster Sino-Canadian relations.