(Bloomberg) -- China blamed Canada for fanning public outrage by arresting Huawei Technologies Co. executive Meng Wanzhou earlier this month, as Beijing continued to ramp up pressure on the U.S. ally.
“The Canadian government at the request of the U.S. side wrongly detained the Chinese citizen,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said. “This action has aroused public anger in China.”
The decision to arrest Meng earlier this month to aid a U.S. extradition effort has made Canada the focus of China’s ire, even as President Donald Trump’s trade war sits at the center of the dispute. Chinese consumers have called for boycotting Canadian goods, throwing away iPhones and buying Huawei handsets.
Earlier this week, China detained two Canadian nationals -- Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor -- over allegations they were involved in activities endangering national security. China has deflected questions about whether the action was linked to Meng’s case, saying only that Canada should drop the prosecution.
Escalating outrage in China could leave Beijing little room to compromise in trade talks, though China has sometimes found such anger a useful tool to pressure foreign governments to reconsider policies.
In recent years, South Korea, the Philippines and Norway have all seen their trade with China dented during diplomatic disputes, something American companies have so far escaped in the trade war. In the most extreme case, Chinese took to the streets in more than a dozen cities, smashing cars, looting shops and tearing up Japanese flags during a 2012 dispute with Japan over East China Sea islands.
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