Canadian detained in China as Huawei CFO returns to court

Dec 12, 2018, 23:59
Canadian detained in China as Huawei CFO returns to court

Canadian businesses operating in China are starting to feel the chill and the signing of one major deal has been postponed, a well-placed source said.

Huawei and China deny these assertions and counter that US security claims are an effort to hurt its business.

A Chinese tech executive facing USA charges related to alleged sanctions violations was granted bail by a Canadian court Tuesday, amid pressure for her release from Beijing and just hours after a former Canadian diplomat was detained in China.

In an apparent message to Washington, China has warned against "bullying" its citizens and "creating new opponents", after the Huawei CFO was arrested in Canada on a USA warrant. All three countries have imposed bans on the use of Huawei's equipment because of concerns it could be used by Chinese security services to hack their communication networks.

She faces "serious charges of fraud" in the United States involving "millions of dollars", where she could receive substantial jail time if convicted.

Chinese police stand outside the Canadian embassy in Beijing
Chinese police stand outside the Canadian embassy in Beijing

If convicted in the United States, Meng faces up to 30 years in prison.

In an interview with Reuters news agency on Tuesday, Mr Trump said he would intervene in the US Justice Department's case against Ms Meng if it would serve national security interests or help achieve a trade deal with China.

"I am satisfied that on the particular facts of this case ... the risk of her non-attendance in court can be reduced to an acceptable level by imposing bail conditions", said the judge, adding that he was also persuaded by the fact that Meng was a well-educated businesswoman with no criminal record.

Despite being called a national security threat by the USA government, the company is the leading provider of networking equipment and is the second largest smartphone manufacturer in the world after Samsung.

The judge on Monday rolled the proceedings over to Tuesday because he wanted to hear more about who would take responsibility for Meng's actions if she were released.

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Donald Trump says he could intervene in the case of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou if it helps to avoid a further decline in usa relations with China.

USA prosecutors want to charge Meng with fraud related to U.S. trade sanctions, which she allegedly violated by hiding her company's ties to business dealings in Iran.

Former Canadian Ambassador to China Guy Saint-Jacques tells Power & Politics that he sees a connection between the Chinese detainment of Michael Kovrig and the Canadian arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.

Mr Kovrig was taken into custody on Monday night during one of his regular visits to Beijing, according to a spokesman for International Crisis Group (ICG), where he now works as north-east Asia adviser based in Hong Kong.

Though the timing appears to be a coincidence - the warrant for her arrest was dated August 22 - China sees the case as a bid to secure leverage in the ongoing U.S.

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The Canadian government said it saw no explicit link to the Huawei case, but analysts had predicted retaliation from Beijing.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada was in direct contact with Chinese authorities concerning the case.

Because Kovrig's group is not registered as a non-governmental organization in China, "once its staff become engaged in activities in China, it has already violated the law", Lu said.

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