China Warns Canada of ‘Heavy Price’ Over Huawei Arrest

By Raymond Zhong

A profile of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the Chinese tech giant Huawei, is displayed on a computer at a Huawei store in Beijing. An editorial in the People’s Daily newspaper warned of “serious consequences” if she were not immediately released by officials in Canada, where she was arrested this month.CreditCreditNg Han Guan/Associated Press

BEIJING — The official mouthpiece of China’s Communist Party issued strong statements on Sunday protesting the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei executive who was detained in Canada this month on suspicion of fraud involving violations of United States sanctions in Iran.

In an editorial published Sunday, the People’s Daily newspaper warned of “serious consequences” should the Canadian authorities fail to immediately release Ms. Meng, the chief financial officer of the Chinese electronics giant and daughter of its founder.

“By convicting her without trial, the Canadian police have completely disregarded the spirit of the law,” the editorial said. “Is this the way a civilized country should act? How can it not make people furious?”

It concluded: “Only by correcting its mistake, immediately ending its violation of a Chinese citizen’s lawful and legitimate rights and giving the Chinese people a due explanation can Canada avoid paying a heavy price.”

A spokeswoman for the Canadian Embassy in Beijing did not have an immediate comment.

Ms. Meng’s detention has ignited anger and astonishment in China, where Huawei, one of the country’s largest and most internationally successful private companies, is a source of national pride. On Saturday, China’s vice foreign minister, Le Yucheng, summoned the Canadian ambassador to Beijing, John McCallum, to register his protest, according to Xinhua, the state-run news agency.

At a bail hearing on Friday in Vancouver, British Columbia, where Ms. Meng was arrested on Dec. 1 while changing planes, Canadian prosecutors said that she took part in a scheme to trick financial institutions into making transactions that violated American sanctions against Iran.

A warrant for Ms. Meng’s arrest was issued in the Eastern District of New York on Aug. 22, said John Gibb-Carsley, an attorney with Canada’s Justice Department. A Canadian justice then issued a warrant for Ms. Meng on Nov. 30 after it became known that she would change planes in Vancouver on her way from Hong Kong to Mexico.

By the end of the day on Friday, no bail had been set. The hearing is set to continue on Monday morning.

Huawei has said it has no knowledge of wrongdoing by Ms. Meng. In a statement after the hearing on Friday, a company spokesman said: “We have every confidence that the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will reach the right conclusion.”

The United States government has been looking into Huawei’s business in Iran for several years. After investigating sanctions violations by Huawei’s main Chinese rival, ZTE, the Commerce Department issued heavy fines and required it to replace its senior leadership.

But coming in a year of tariffs and other measures aimed at curbing China’s efforts to upgrade its technological capabilities, Ms. Meng’s arrest has reinforced the feeling among many people in China that Washington is using all means at its disposal to hold back their nation’s economic ascent.

“China will not stir up trouble. But nor is it afraid of trouble,” the People’s Daily editorial said. “Nobody should underestimate China’s confidence, willpower and strength.”

Follow Raymond Zhong on Twitter: @zhonggg.