Canada must use Meng Wanzhou’s fight against extradition to the U.S. to send a clear message to China, and not the wrong one.
By Nathan Vanderklippe with reports from Alexandra Li, published by the Globe and Mail, January 20, 2020
Inside a small prisoner visitor’s room in southern China, with three guards looking on, Wang Bingzhang, one of China’s most famous democracy activists, looked at his son, Times Wang, and offered a provocative idea – that he and his sister, “both lawyers,” use their skills to defend Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei executive whose fight against extradition to the U.S. began today in a Vancouver courtroom.
Helping Ms. Meng’s legal case, said Wang Bingzhang – a former medical student in Canada who sought to bring democracy to China before his imprisonment in 2003 on espionage and terrorism charges – would demonstrate “what human rights really means.”
In recent times, high-ranking Liberals including, most recently, Jean Chrétien’s former chief of staff Eddie Goldenberg, have argued that Canada should exercise a provision of law that allows for a political intervention to end an extradition proceeding (a move that would also secure the release of two Canadians held in China). Times Wang describes the recommendation as a “bonkers idea.”
“It’s telling the Communist Party that might equals right, and we agree with you,” he says.
Mo Shaoping, a prominent Chinese human-rights lawyer, describes a political intervention to release Ms. Meng as significant beyond Canada. “Even in a democratic society,” he says, it would send the message that “judicial independence should remain subservient to national interests and political consideration.”
Yaxue Cao, the founder and editor of ChinaChange.org, says even an intervention justified by law, “will only prove to China that rule of law in the West is just like their rule by law. It will also send a message to China that Canada is weak and can be bullied into submission.”