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Canada frees Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou

Spectacular twist: the United States has dropped its lawsuits against Huawei’s chief financial officer, who has been detained at their request for nearly three years in Canada. Two Canadian nationals detained in China were also released.

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou returned to China on September 25 after being able to leave Canada where she had been held under house arrest for nearly three years, pending a court ruling on her extradition to United States. She was arrested in December 2018, at Vancouver International Airport, at the request of Washington. The United States Justice Department accused him of banking and electronic fraud, for allegedly deceiving British bank HSBC in 2013 over Huawei’s trade relations in Iran, under US sanctions.

During a hearing on September 24 in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, which Meng Wanzhou attended by video conference, Assistant United States Attorney David Kessler announced that the charges against her would be abandoned if they complied with all the obligations of an agreement valid until December 2022 signed with the United States justice. He added that Meng Wanzhou would be released on bail and that the United States would withdraw their extradition request to Canada. The deal only concerns Meng Wanzhou, and the US Department of Justice has said it is preparing for a lawsuit against Huawei.

A few hours after the announcement of this agreement, two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, arrested in China shortly after the arrest of Meng Wanzhou in December 2018, and charged with espionage, were released. They were able to return to Canada after signing a confession. Kovrig and Spavor were greeted as they stepped off the plane at Calgary Airport in western Canada by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

As a Chinese citizen […] there was never a moment when I did not feel the attention and warmth of the Party, the motherland and the people

Huawei’s chief financial officer, repatriated by plane specially chartered by the Chinese government, landed in Shenzhen, in southern China, where Huawei’s headquarters are located. “As an ordinary Chinese citizen who suffered from this situation and remained stranded abroad for nearly three years, there was never a time when I did not feel the care and warmth of the Party, Fatherland and People, ”she declared in a brief address to the hundred or so people, relatives, colleagues and regional officials who had come to welcome her.

“Arbitrary detention”

Chinese authorities celebrated Meng Wanzhou’s return as a victory for China in its trade war with the United States, but also expressed resentment. At a press conference on September 25, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said the accusations against Huawei’s chief financial officer had been “fabricated” and aimed at blocking the development of China’s high-tech industries. “What the United States and Canada have done is a typical case of arbitrary detention,” she added.

About the arrest in Canada of Meng Wanzhou, main Chinese media, such as the magazine China Daily do not hesitate to evoke a “kidnapping”. In a particularly virulent editorial, the English-language magazine intended for an international readership did not hesitate to write: “His release, which was not obtained in exchange for an admission of guilt, shows that his ordeal did not it was never more than a dirty trick from the United States, which wanted her as a political hostage as part of their efforts to smash Huawei, the leading player in the global 5G market. ”

In the United States, the dropping of charges against Meng Wanzhou has been viewed as a waiver by some. Thus, on his twitter account, Republican Senator Tom Cotton, did not hide his annoyance by commenting: “Under Joe Biden, America is bending to China like a cheap suit.” Also targeting the administration’s chief diplomat Biden, the politician quipped: “Obviously, John Kerry seems to have convinced the administration to downplay China’s genocide against the Uyghurs in exchange for vague promises of cooperation on climate change.”

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