(CN) — The Chinese government on Tuesday demanded that the U.S. drop its request for the extradition of tech giant Huawei’s chief financial officer from Canada, in a case that has strained Chinese relations with the Canadian and U.S. governments.
The U.S. government reportedly plans to extradite Meng Wanzhou from Canada to face charges that she committed banking fraud by misleading banks about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran.
Huawei, which is closely tied to China’s military and is considered one of the county’s most successful international enterprises, is suspected by the U.S. government of violating trade sanctions against Iran.
The company recently overtook Apple to become the second-largest smartphone maker in the world.
Meng’s Dec. 1 arrest in Vancouver at the request of U.S. authorities has damaged relations between China, Canada and the United States. She is currently being held under house arrest in her Vancouver mansion.
During a regular briefing Tuesday in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying addressed the extradition request and called the Meng case “a serious mistake from the very beginning.”
Hua said Canada’s extradition treaty with the United States infringes on the “safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.”
“We urge the Canadian side to immediately release Ms. Meng Wanzhou and earnestly ensure her legal and legitimate rights and interests. We also strongly urge the U.S. side to immediately correct its mistake, withdraw its arrest order for Ms. Meng Wanzhou and refrain from making [a] formal extradition request to the Canadian side,” Hua said Tuesday.
In apparent retaliation for Meng’s arrest, China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor on Dec. 10.
A group of 143 academics, scholars and former diplomats from around the world signed an open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday calling for him to release the detainees.
The letter said the arrests of the two Canadians will lead to “less dialogue and greater distrust, and undermine efforts to manage disagreements and identify common ground.”
Kovrig and Spavor are reportedly being held in solitary confinement in Chinese jails and have not yet been allowed access to lawyers.
Following Meng’s arrest, a Chinese court also retried and sentenced Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg to death in a drug smuggling case.
In December, Meng was freed on bail of $10 million Canadian ($7.5 million U.S.) after surrendering her passports and agreeing to wear a GPS monitor. Her next court date is set for Feb. 6.
Representatives for Huawei and the Canadian Department of Justice did not immediately respond Tuesday to requests for comment.