China and Canada are in a political wrestling match. That match may not end well for the Canadian citizens China has under lock and key. The two Canadians China grabbed off the street and threw in a well-lit room filled with non-stop questions are collateral damage from the United States inspired arrest of Huawei’s CFO Meng Wenzhou in Canada a couple of weeks ago. Canada arrested Meng as she landed in Vancouver. The United States believes Huawei, the tech company Meng’s father started, steals trade secrets from American companies.
Canadian officials arrested Meng and held her until a Canadian judge ordered her to pay $7 million in bail and wear an ankle bracelet so she couldn’t leave Canada. Huawei represents China on the world’s capitalistic stage so an attack on Huawei is an attack on China, according to Chinese officials. China wants Canada to release Meng and give her bail money back. But Canada can’t do that without stepping all over President Trump. President Trump wants to use Meng and Huawei as bargaining chips in his trade war, according to op-eds in the Washington Post. Trump told reporters he’s ready to intervene in the debacle, but White House lawyers think that’s a bad idea.
The Chinese know Trump likes the way Canada handled the Meng arrest. He knew Canada would bear the brunt of China’s anger, according to some news reports. And Canada knows China plans to play hardball now that they have two Canadians in custody. Canada asked other countries to help them get their citizens out of China. One of the Canadian is Hungarian by birth so the European Union spoke up and asked China to let him go. Not to be outdone by the EU, the Brits decided to chime in and irritate China too.
It didn’t take long for China to let the EU and the U.K. know they need to tend to their own political knitting. The Chinese asked both countries where they were when Canada arrested one of their citizens. China feels like the EU and the U.K. disrespected their judicial sovereignty by intervening. One Chinese official said the requests for release from the EU and the U.K. were strange.
The plot thickens between China and Canada. Canada needs China in order to maintain solid economic growth. But Canada seems to be on China’s Trump lover list, and that is not the right list to be on in China right now thanks to the festering trade war that could turn the global economy into a recessionary train wreck.