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China heats up diplomatic feud, detains 13 Canadians since Meng’s arrest

China’s arm twisting tactic is blatant. If it can’t have its way with the world, it sure creates enough fuss till it gets what it wants. This is made evident by the fact that Beijing has detained 13 Canadian citizens after Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of China-based company Huawei, was detained in Vancouver on December 1.

Wanzhou, who is the daughter of the founder of Huawei, was arrested in Canada on December 1 at the behest of the US. She was held while changing flights in Vancouver. The US authorities claim Wanzhou helped Huawei evade US sanctions on Iran by telling authorities that a Huawei subsidiary was a separate company. According to the US lawmakers, Huawei poses a threat to the US national security.

Wanzhou got a $10-million bail on December 11, and now resides at her home in Vancouver as she fights extradition to USA. The court has ordered the CFO to wear an ankle monitor and stay at home between 11pm-6am.

A Canadian government official, who did not want to be named, said on Thursday that eight of those 13 detained by Beijing had been released, but it was not made clear on what charges they were held.

Although Canada asserts there are no explicit links between the arrest of Wanzhou and the detention of its citizens, ex-Canadian diplomats say it is typical of China to get vindictive, and resort to “tit-for-tat” tactics to mount pressure.

In December, just a few hours before Wanzhou was to make an appearance in a Canadian court, Beijing detained ex-Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig. His employer the International Crisis Group had expressed concern, seeking his prompt release.

Although Chinese authorities negated that Kovrig’s detention was related to Meng’s arrest, they blamed him for carrying out activities for his company without registration, and hence flouting China’s foreign NGO law.

Reports say there are nearly 200 Canadians detained in China for various alleged charges, and they face legal proceedings in Chinese courts.

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