China and the US are on the cusp of a political war, a conflict without smoke. This is what Washington is telling the world. China cannot dodge it and Canada has to make its choice carefully.
When US State Department spokesperson told reporters Tuesday that the case of Meng Wanzhou, CFO of China's tech giant Huawei, "is based solely on the facts and the law," he had not assumed he would be slapped in the face very soon by his President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Trump said Tuesday he would intervene in Meng's arrest with the US Justice Department, if it would help promote a trade deal with China. He was echoed by Pompeo the next day, who said, "It's totally appropriate to do so. The president's mission is very clear. It's America First, right?"
What they conveyed is simple - Washington doesn't really have an independent judicial system and controversial cases with political implications can be swayed by the US president.
Trump may believe he showed goodwill to China, but he is actually feeding the belief that Meng's episode is nothing more than a political case.
From whichever perspective one looks, Meng's case seems to be related to a political war against China's rise. Washington's policy of treating China as a strategic opponent has led to a large-scale political campaign against Beijing at various levels of US government departments — the judiciary, executive, and education.
After the US media hyped up that hackers working on behalf of China are believed to be responsible for the recent Marriott hotel chain data breach, US Justice Department is preparing to announce new indictments against Chinese hackers. Almost at the same time, the US Senate approved the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act Tuesday, as a move to pile pressure on China's internal affairs.
Trump and Pompeo have made it quite clear that US national interest is above all. The current aim of US strategy is to launch an all-out offensive against China, one that has been forged at all levels.
Meng's case is obviously political, rather than a so-called criminal case. There are universally recognized rules in international extradition law which does not allow extradition in political cases. In the past, Canada has refused US extradition requests for political reasons.
Meng did not violate Canadian laws. If Canada extradites Meng, it will violate internationally accepted extradition provisions, and the move would be considered illegal.
Amid rising tensions, the chain of events makes it hard for people to believe they are simple individual cases, but the US' long-planned scheme to engage in rivalry, especially political confrontation with China, and escalate it.
But what role should Canada play in this drama? When Trump suggested he could turn Meng into a bargaining chip with China, Ottawa, which arrested Meng at US' behest, was thrown under the bus by Washington. It must be wondering how it has got embroiled in the controversy. The only rational choice for Canada is to withdraw and spare itself the predicament.
Canada must be clear that in the US political war against China, if it picks the US side, it will inevitably be injured by China's counterattack.