China's foreign ministry on Tuesday demanded the US drop a request that Canada extradite a top executive of the tech giant Huawei, shifting blame to Washington in a case that has severely damaged Beijing's relations with Ottawa.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular news briefing that Meng Wanzhou's case was out of the ordinary and Canada's extradition treaty with the US infringed on the "safety and legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens" which was, she said, "vile in nature."
Hua said China demands that the US withdraw the arrest warrant against Meng and "not make a formal extradition request to the Canadian side."
Hua's remarks come after more than 100 academics and former diplomats signed a letter calling on China to release two Canadians detained in apparent retaliation for Meng's arrest.
They also follow a report by the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail that the US plans to formally request Meng's extradition to face charges that she committed fraud by misleading banks about Huawei's business dealings in Iran.
China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor on Dec. 10 in an apparent attempt to pressure Canada to release Meng, who was arrested Dec. 1 at the request of US authorities.
Meng is Huawei's chief financial officer and the daughter of its founder, Ren Zhengfei. Huawei has close ties to China's military and is considered one of the country's most successful international enterprises, operating in the high-tech sphere where China hopes to establish dominance.
The letter signed by academics and former diplomats said the arrests of the two will lead to "less dialogue and greater distrust, and undermine efforts to manage disagreements and identify common ground. Both China and the rest of the world will be worse off as a result."
Hua called the letter "disrespectful" and accused its authors of interference in "China's sovereignty and internal judicial affairs".
Hua also criticized remarks by Canada's former spy chief on Monday calling on Ottawa to ban Huawei from 5G networks.
Hua accused the US and Canada of "wanting to create panic" over Chinese spying with no evidence.