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Huawei: Chinese media says Canada will pay 'heavy price' if CFO isn't released

Leyland Cecco in Toronto

Country steps up pressure as Canada cancels a trade mission and Meng Wanzhou’s bail hearing adjourned until Tuesday

Meng Wanzhou attends a VTB Capital Investment forum in Moscow, Russia, on 2 October 2014. Photograph: Stringer/Reuters

China has stepped up pressure on Canada ahead of the resumed bail hearing for a senior Huawei executive who was arrested in Vancouver on a US warrant.

Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, was detained on 1 December while changing planes from China to Mexico.

US authorities have requested her extradition, arguing that she had committed fraud by lying about links between Huawei and a shell company used to sell telecommunications equipment to Iran in breach of US sanctions.

Chinese state media sharply escalated its rhetoric over the weekend. Meng’s bail hearing was adjourned on Monday until Tuesday.

“Canada’s misdeeds, which are lawless, unreasonable and callous, have caused serious damage to its relations with China,” wrote Xinhua , warning of “serious consequences” if Canada did not quickly release Meng.

A column in the People’s Daily Online criticized Canada for acting like “America’s trusty sidekick” and cautioned that it would pay a “heavy price” if Meng remains in custody.

Amid growing tensions over the arrest, Canada cancelled a planned forestry trade mission to China this week.

In Beijing, a foreign ministry spokesman, Lu Kang, cited China’s state-run Global Times newspaper as reporting that “it seems that the Canadian detention facility is not offering her the necessary healthcare”.

“We believe this is inhumane and violates her human rights,” he told reporters.

In a 55-page sworn affidavit released over the weekend, Meng said she had been treated in hospital for hypertension since her arrest.

“I continue to feel unwell and I am worried about my health deteriorating while I am incarcerated,” she said in the affidavit which argued that she should be released promptly because of her poor health – including previous cancer surgery and difficultly eating solid foods.

She also stressed her connections to Vancouver as the court debates whether or not she is a high-level flight risk.

“While I am a Chinese citizen and normally reside in China, my family has extensive ties to Canada, and Vancouver in particular,” she said.

In court on Friday, her defence team proffered a number of concessions to obtain bail, including GPS tracking, surrendering two passports and full-time surveillance, which the judge said he would review over the weekend.

She also promised to post the equity of two Vancouver homes as part of her bail.

On Sunday, Vancouver police responded to an attempted break-in at a house owned by Meng and her husband, Xiaozong Liu. No people were hurt, nor was there any damage to the property, police said.

Government lawyers have requested she be denied bail, citing her “vast resources” and lack of connection to the country as areas of concern.