A profile of Huawei's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is displayed on a Huawei computer at a Huawei store in Beijing, China, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018. Canadian authorities said Wednesday that they have arrested Meng for possible extradition to the United States. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
world

China demands Canada release Huawei executive

28 Comments
By JOE McDONALD and ROB GILLIES

China on Thursday demanded Canada release a Huawei Technologies executive who was arrested in a case that adds to technology tensions with Washington and threatens to complicate trade talks.

Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, faces possible extradition to the United States, according to Canadian authorities. The Globe and Mail newspaper, citing law enforcement sources, said she is accused of trying to evade U.S. curbs on trade with Iran.

The timing is awkward following the announcement of a U.S.-Chinese cease-fire in a tariff war over Beijing's technology policy. Meng was detained in Vancouver on Saturday, the day Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping met in Argentina and announced their deal.

Asian stock markets tumbled on the news, fearing renewed U.S.-Chinese tensions that threaten global economic growth. Market indexes in Tokyo and Hong Kong by 1.9 percent and 2.8 percent and Shanghai was off 1.7 percent at midday.

The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said Meng broke no U.S. or Canadian laws and demanded Canada "immediately correct the mistake" and release her.

"The Chinese side expresses firm opposition and strongly protests this serious violation of human rights," said an embassy statement.

Huawei Technologies Ltd., the biggest global supplier of network gear used by phone and internet companies, has been the target of deepening U.S. security concerns. Washington has pressured European countries and other allies to limit use of its technology.

The U.S. sees Huawei and smaller Chinese tech suppliers as possible fronts for Chinese spying and as commercial competitors that the Trump administration says benefit from improper subsidies and market barriers.

Trump's tariff hikes this year on Chinese imports stemmed from complaints Beijing steals or pressures foreign companies to hand over technology. But American officials also worry more broadly about Chinese plans for state-led industry development they worry might erode U.S. industrial leadership.

U.S. leaders also worry that Beijing is using the growth of Chinese business abroad to gain strategic leverage.

"The United States is stepping up containment of China in all respects," said Zhu Feng, an international relations expert at Nanjing University. He said targeting Huawei, one of the most successful Chinese companies, "will trigger anti-U.S. sentiment in China."

"The incident could turn out to be a breaking point," Zhu said.

Last month, New Zealand blocked a mobile phone company from using Huawei equipment, saying it posed a "significant network security risk." In August, Australia banned the company from working on the country's fifth-generation network due to security concerns.

The Wall Street Journal reported this year that U.S. authorities are investigating whether Huawei violated sanctions on Iran. The Chinese government appealed to Washington to avoid any steps that might damage business confidence.

Huawei's Chinese rival, ZTE Corp., was nearly driven out of business this year when Washington barred it from buying U.S. technology over exports to North Korea and Iran. Trump restored access after ZTE agreed to pay a $1 billion fine, replace its executive team and embed a U.S.-chosen compliance team in the company.

Huawei is regarded as far stronger commercially than ZTE. The company based in Shenzhen, near Hong Kong, has the biggest research and development budget of any Chinese company and a vast portfolio of tech patents, making it less dependent on American suppliers.

It also has a growing smartphone brand that is one of the top three global suppliers behind Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc. by number of handsets sold.

Meng was changing flights in Canada when she was detained "on behalf of the United States of America" to face "unspecified charges" in New York, according to a Huawei statement.

"The company has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng," the statement said.

A U.S. Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.

Huawei said it complies with all laws and rules where it operates, including export controls and sanctions of the United Nations, the United States and European Union.

Meng is a prominent member of China's business world as deputy chairman of Huawei's board and the daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei, a former Chinese military engineer.

Despite that, her arrest is unlikely to derail U.S.-Chinese trade talks, said Willy Lam, a politics specialist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

"I think too much is at stake for Xi Jinping. He desperately wants a settlement," said Lam. "So I don't think this will have a really detrimental impact on the possibility of both countries reaching a deal."

Longer term, however, the case will reinforce official Chinese urgency about developing domestic technology suppliers to reduce reliance on the United States, said Lam.

Trump has "pulled out all the stops" to hamper Chinese ambitions to challenge the United States as a technology leader, Lam said. That includes imposing limits on visas for Chinese students to study science and technology.

"If the Chinese need further convincing, this case would show them beyond doubt Trump's commitment," said Lam.

David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said U.S. and Canadian business executives could face reprisals in China.

"That's something we should be watching out for. It's a possibility. China plays rough," Mulroney said. "It's a prominent member of their society and it's a company that really embodies China's quest for global recognition as a technology power."

Mulroney said Canada should be prepared for "sustained fury" from the Chinese and said the arrest will be portrayed in China as Canada kowtowing to Trump. He also said the Iran allegations are very damaging to Huawei and China will push back hard.

The Chinese will view Meng's arrest on the same day as Trump's meeting with the Chinese leader as a planned conspiracy to do damage, said Wenran Jiang, a senior fellow at the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia.

"She was in transit though Vancouver. That means the intelligence agencies in Canada and the U.S. were tracking her and planning to arrest her for some time," he said.

Jiang foresees a crisis in relations between the three countries if Meng is extradited. Any talk of a free trade agreement between Canada and China would be over, he said.

U.S. Sen. Ben Sasser, a Republican member of the Senate Armed Services and Banking committees, said Huawei is an agent of China's ruling Communist Party and applauded Canada for the arrest.

"Americans are grateful that our Canadian partners have arrested the chief financial officer of a giant Chinese telecom company for breaking U.S. sanctions against Iran," he said.

© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.


28 Comments
Login to comment

China holds foreign citizens hostage trying to get a relative to return for investigation. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/25/us/politics/china-exit-ban.html

At least the USA goes after someone responsible for the alleged violations, not their mother or children.

The US State Department has a travel warning for China about this https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories/china-travel-advisory.html China doesn't recognize dual-citizenship.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

From this Canadian's point of view, we should keep it simple. She has been accused of breaking a law by dealing with Iran, a sanctioned country by both the US and Canada. Her employer has been flagged by both countries' security services, and those of other countries in the Commonwealth (which still exists as a cooperative organization of democratic countries associated with the UK) as a manufacturer of spy equipment. She was arrested in transit at YVR (Vancouver International Airport). The US and Canada have an extradition treaty that goes back many years. Our security services share information that many commenters on this site are completely unaware of, and therefore out of the loop, so to speak.

All that said, there are still protocols involved in extradition, and since Canada's laws associated with extradition are a lot more stringent that those of the US, I expect the process to be not only fair, but legal to the utmost degree. China may not like it, but Canada won't cave on any threat to trade that might come of this, regardless of what some people might think.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Leaving aside Huawei's and China's reputations, it's not clear to me the basis for her extradition. Did she commit any crime while in the US, which is the normal basis for extradition? If something is legal in China but illegal in the USA (e.g. supplying certain goods to Iran), and her alleged offense took place in China, why should she be extradited?

A very good question, but one that seems to attract a lot of down votes - it seems some have problems with challenging questions.

The USA does have a track record of passing laws that have extra-territorial powers. I think that it uses the mechanism of the USD to do this. If the trade with Iran involved the dollar then the crime took place in the USA, so the individual becomes liable and within their grasp.

It is quite disturbing, once you get past the whataboutery of China's human rights record.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

China is a nation of law and order.

Yes, according to their law and order.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

China is a nation of law and order. Just remember that their laws are selectively enforced and maintaining order is their pretext for the suspension of law.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So this is going to be interesting.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan should outlaw all Huewei products and services. It makes no sense to increase military power against China while inviting a company that has close tie with Chinese military.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

You know, China recently declared that anyone of Chinese descent is subject to the Laws of China. So does that mean they are no longer subject to the Laws of the Country of their Birth too, or those within which they operate ?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This is a serious violation of international law and human rights.

She did not do anything illegal on US or Canada soil, the US has NO jurisdiction over Chinese soil, all activities she conducts within China is subject to Chinese law only.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Wow, a real America drama, I thought this kind of under-handed ways was only for 3rd world countries drama. A trade deal ???.Gee, do anyone think America is great ???. I am open-minded but on who's ground was Sabrina Meng arrested ???.Her father is right, E.U is better.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I have no clue about this Huawei technology stuff. Can an expert explain if this could be a real spy threat?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Huawei's Chinese rival, ZTE Corp., was nearly driven out of business this year when Washington barred it from buying U.S. technology over exports to North Korea and Iran.

ZTE should have been refused access to Qualcomm chips and failed. Trump failed by letting them have a 2nd chance and buying their way out.

Huawei is next. No Snapdragon for you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

China demands something other than global dominance and subservience, now that is new.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Before the unelected Chinese dictatorship gets too indignant perhaps they could explain why they have arrested Swedish citizen Gui Minhai and what Chinese laws he has broken?

Mr Gui published books critical of despot Xi Jinping, but these books were not published in China (where the dictators censor free speech). The Chinese clearly think it is OK to arrest a non-citizen for something they did that was legal in their place of residence, so why are they complaining about the arrest of Ms Meng?

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Its long over due for the western world to start parting ways with China, it s clearly become a HUGE disaster in the making the last 30years, the west has fed the beast & now its becoming nightmare on so many levels

7 ( +8 / -1 )

"her arrest is unlikely to derail U.S.-Chinese trade talks, said Willy Lam, a politics specialist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. "I think too much is at stake for Xi Jinping. He desperately wants a settlement," said Lam. "So I don't think this will have a really detrimental impact on the possibility of both countries reaching a deal."

Tariffs are working. Amazing.

Schopenhauer - It's in the bag!

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

In the UK, BT is already removing core Huwawei components.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-46453425

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Well the 1st world nations demand the release of the head of Interpol. And freedom to navigate around fake islands.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

"The Chinese side expresses firm opposition and strongly protests this serious violation of human rights," said an embassy statement.

Thumbs up. China is maturing little by little. Now just make sure you practice human rights.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Huawei routers are just reverse-engineered Cisco routers. They are the most blatant example of how China steals US intellectual property. Also, if you purchase a Huawei product, you might as well be sticking a Chinese bug (surveillance device) in your house.

"The Chinese side expresses firm opposition and strongly protests this serious violation of human rights,"

Seriously? They're concerned about human rights?

8 ( +10 / -2 )

A risky move, considering the number of foreign executives who work in China. Arresting company executives is totally different from placing companies under sanctions.

Not sure they have thought this one out.

Now how about arresting MBS, the moment he steps out of Saudi Arabia.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Easy. China just have to arrest some Canadian and American executives currently in China.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

China: Asia’s biggest bully and biggest crybaby st the same time.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Any talk of a free trade agreement between Canada and China would be over, he said.

Thank goodness. We can hope this is true

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Leaving aside Huawei's and China's reputations, it's not clear to me the basis for her extradition. Did she commit any crime while in the US, which is the normal basis for extradition? If something is legal in China but illegal in the USA (e.g. supplying certain goods to Iran), and her alleged offense took place in China, why should she be extradited?

0 ( +7 / -7 )

"The Chinese side expresses firm opposition and strongly protests this serious violation of human rights," said an embassy statement.

HAHAHA such a funny statement from one of the worst human rights violators in the world today.

Apparently China is unaware that the arrest was made at the request of the US so she can be deported to the US.

"The Wall Street Journal reported in April that the US Justice Department was investigating whether Huawei violated US sanctions on Iran".

It would seem that China does not like to recognize the laws and processes of other nations, possibly because they have not been approved by President Xi.

This may be Trump playing China at its own game for the US children being held by China in its attempt to catch their fugitive father.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/25/us/politics/china-exit-ban.html

This will be interesting to follow to see if Canada caves to Chinese pressure or if the US drops charges or prosecutes.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The Chinese side expresses firm opposition and strongly protests this serious violation of human rights.

So says the country that now "disappears" more of its citizens than all other countries in the world combined.

I'm no fan of the Iran sanctions, but you don't have to be a fan of a law to nonetheless be ensnared by it. Meanwhile, Huawei - and all other Chinese telecommunication and computing companies - are finding themselves locked out of foreign markets due to security concerns. They can sell to themselves and maybe to client countries, but try to build a world-class industry on that.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

I can think of many people China should release, but as we know China is a very sensitive and will do anything to deny a little thing called truth.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites