The arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in 2018 on a US warrant, and the subsequent arrest of two Canadians by China, sparked an unprecedented dispute between Beijing and Ottawa.
A legal deal in New York on Friday paved the way for Meng to board a flight to China after nearly three years of detention in Canada, as well as for the two Canadians to leave home.
Here are the dates for the main events in the case:
– wanted: Ming Wanzhou – In August 2018, a New York court issued an arrest warrant for Ming, the second official of the Chinese telecom giant Huawei, nicknamed the “Huawei Princess”.
The US Department of Justice accuses Ming, the daughter of company founder Ren Jingfei, of lying to HSBC about Huawei’s relationship with its undisclosed Iran-based subsidiary Skycom, exposing the bank to violating US sanctions against Tehran.
– Ming’s arrest On December 1, Meng was arrested at the request of the US authorities during a layover at Vancouver Airport.
On December 6, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said there had been “no political interference” and that the Canadian judicial system was acting independently in dealing with the US extradition request. Two days later, China threatened Canada with dire consequences.
Two Canadians arrested in China On December 10, China arrested former diplomat Michael Kovrig, who worked for the International Crisis Group, and business advisor Michael Spavor, on suspicion of “engaging in activities that threaten Chinas national security.”
Observers saw the arrests as retaliation for Ming.
Trudeau and Trump In January 2019, Trudeau and US President Donald Trump denounced the “arbitrary detention” of Canadians.
Later that month, Trudeau fired Canadas ambassador to China, John McCallum, for saying in an interview with Chinese media that Liming had strong grounds to object to her extradition to the United States.
– The death penalty – Also in January 2019, diplomatic tension escalated after a court in northeastern China sentenced 36-year-old Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg to death in a hastily scheduled retrial after his previous 15-year prison term for drug trafficking was deemed too lenient.
The Canadian youth was arrested in 2014 long before the diplomatic row.
After the death sentence, Canadian authorities updated travel advisories to China, warning its citizens of the “risk of arbitrary application of domestic laws”.
Beijing responded by warning its citizens about the “risks” of traveling to Canada, citing the arrest of Meng.
– Trade Tensions In March 2019, Chinese authorities spoke of “dangerous pests” in Canadian shipments of canola to justify a ban on the import of seeds used to make cooking oil, biodiesel and animal feed.
Three months later, China halted all imports of Canadian beef, saying it had exposed fake veterinary health certificates.
In November, Beijing announced that it would resume importing Canadian meat.
Official accusations – In June 2020, China formally charged Kovrig and Spavor, more than 18 months after their arrest.
The Supreme People’s Procuratorate stated that they were “suspected of espionage” and “disclosing state secrets”.
Request to reduce the terms of the guarantee In January 2021, Meng’s lawyers asked the court to ease her bail conditions, which include a curfew, an ankle bracelet, and daytime security guards monitoring her home in Vancouver, where she has resided since her arrest.
But the judge upheld the government’s attorney’s objection to the request.
– reach an agreement The two Canadian citizens were tried in March. Spavor was sentenced to 11 years in prison, while the Kovrig case has yet to be announced.
On September 24, Meng reached an agreement with US prosecutors to avoid criminal fraud charges, and was released at a Vancouver court hearing. And soon she left for the Chinese city of Shenzhen.
Shortly thereafter, Trudeau announced that Kovrig and Spavor had returned home following their release.
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