China on Friday criticized the United States for attempting to suppress Huawei and other Chinese high-tech companies and called Canada an "accomplice," urging Canada to release Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou immediately.
A Canadian judge ruled on Wednesday that the extradition case against Meng can proceed. According to the ruling, Meng's case meets the Canadian extradition standard of "double criminality."
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular press briefing that the case is a "serious political incident."
"The U.S. and Canada abused their bilateral extradition treaty and arbitrarily took compulsory measures against a Chinese citizen without cause," Zhao said. "This is a serious political incident that grossly violates the legitimate rights and interests of the Chinese citizen."
He said the purpose of the U.S. in the case is to suppress Huawei and other Chinese high-tech companies, adding that Canada is playing the role of an "accomplice" of the United States.
The Chinese government is steadfast in safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and enterprises, he stressed.
Meng was arrested on December 1, 2018, at Vancouver International Airport at the request of the U.S., which is seeking her extradition on fraud charges. Both Meng and Huawei have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
The Chinese Embassy in Canada said in a statement on Thursday that China strongly opposes and is disappointed at the Canadian judge's ruling on the case.
"We once again urge Canada to take China's solemn position and concerns seriously, immediately release Ms. Meng Wanzhou to allow her to return safely to China, and not to go further down the wrong path," said the statement.
Huawei on Wednesday said in a statement that it was disappointed in the ruling. "Huawei continues to stand with Ms. Meng in her pursuit for justice and freedom. We expect that Canada's judicial system will ultimately prove Ms. Meng's innocence. Ms. Meng's lawyers will continue to work tirelessly to see justice is served."
The U.S. Commerce Department on May 22 said it will add 33 Chinese firms and institutions to an economic blacklist for national security and human rights issues. China's Foreign Ministry said that the move violated the basic rule of international relations, intervened in China's internal affairs and severely damaged China's interests.