China summons U.S. and Canadian ambassadors over arrest and detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou
The government of China is increasing diplomatic pressure on the United States and Canada following last weekend's arrest of Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver International Airport.
Today, America's ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, was summoned to the Chinese foreign ministry to hear strong protests against the detention of the Huawei Technologies Co. chief financial officer and deputy chair.
According to the Chinese news agency Xinhua, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Yucheng said "what the United States has done severely violates [this] Chinese citizen's legitimate rights and interests, and is vile in nature".
Le also threatened that China "will respond further" if the Americans don't withdraw the arrest warrant against Meng.
Meng is in custody in Vancouver after a bail hearing was adjourned on December 7 without a decision. It will resume on December 10 in B.C. Supreme Court.
The U.S. government wants Meng extradited to face charges in connection with Huawei allegedly violating a U.S. arms embargo to Iran through a subsidiary.
Meng has previously denied that this company, Skycom, was a Huawei subsidiary—and U.S. officials have alleged that she lied to financial institutions about this.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
On December 8, China threatened "grave consequences" against Canada. This came when its ambassador to China, John McCallum, was summoned to the Chinese foreign ministry for a rebuke from Le.
Canada's actions were also described a "vile in nature".
China's human rights record under scrutiny
Critics of China have questioned its legitimacy in complaining about human rights, given what's occurred in its country.
Just last month, Le was in Geneva responding to international concerns in this area. It came during the UN Human Rights Council's universal periodic review process.
He claimed that 46,000 Tibetan monks and nuns experience no restrictions on the expression of their religion.
However, more than a dozen countries—including the United States, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Australia—called upon China to end internment camps and the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands, and possibly millions, of Uyghur Muslims in the northwestern province of Xinjiang.
The Chinese delegation, which was headed by Le, said that his country was responding to extremism and the government's approach had "nothing to do with religion", according to a news story on the UN website.
"Vocational training is offered free of charge there, along with help learning languages and combating extremism for those 'who have been lured into terrorist activities', China’s representative insisted," the UN website states.
Critics of the Chinese government, including Uyghur American activist Aydin Anwar, however, have claimed that China is forcing its imprisoned Uyghurs to denounce their religion and declare their allegiance to Chinese president Xi Jinping.
Uyghur separatists use the names East Turkistan or Uyhurstan to describe their homeland
At the UN Human Rights Council meeting, at least seven countries raised concerns about the deterioration of political and civil rights in Hong Kong. Austria sought assurances that organ donations in China were only being performed with the free, informed, specific consent of the donors.
Le claimed that China has promoted human rights by accepting 204 of the 252 recommendations from the last UN Human Rights Council review in 2013.