The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday used the scandal engulfing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration to question the fairness and independence of the Canadian judiciary and once again challenge the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.
More precisely, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang allowed a “reporter” for Chinese state media to issue the challenge, then pronounced himself delighted with the question, as transcribed by Reuters:
Asked by a state media journalist if it was contradictory for Trudeau to say he couldn’t interfere in Meng’s case and yet his government be accused of trying to intervene in the SNC-Lavalin case, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he “really liked this question.”
“Of course I think that this is a question that should be asked of the Canadian government,” Lu said.
“In fact, on this case you have mentioned, people in Canada are paying it a great deal of attention,” he added. “In fact, not only Chinese and Canadian citizens but the whole world are extremely interested to hear how the Canadian government answers this question.”
The SNC-Lavalin case involves testimony from former Canadian Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould that she was intensely pressured by Trudeau officials, including the prime minister himself, to avoid prosecuting engineering company SNC-Lavalin on charges of fraud and bribery.
The Chinese government has pressured Trudeau to intervene on behalf of Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested at the Vancouver airport in December and held for possible extradition to the United States to face charges of financial fraud and violating sanctions against Iran. Lu was, in essence, ribbing Trudeau for intervening in a fraud prosecution when it suited his interests but piously claiming he would never do such a thing when China asked him to.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s eleventh-hour jibe apparently did not affect the trajectory of the Meng Wanzhou case. On Friday the Canadian government announced it will permit the U.S. extradition case against Meng to proceed.