China demands release of Huawei CFO after she's arrested in Canada

Dwayne Harmon
December 7, 2018

Meng, who also goes by the name Sabrina, was arrested by Canadian police while changing planes at Vancouver International Airport Dec. 1 on a warrant issued under the Extradition Act at the request of us authorities.

Meng was detained by Canadian authorities in Vancouver on December 1 - the same day Mr. Trump met with China's leader. On Wednesday, China's embassy in Canada said it resolutely opposed the arrest and called for her immediate release.

The Virginia Democrat said in a statement on the arrest that there's "ample evidence" to suggest Huawei is not independent of the Chinese government and Communist Party.

Huawei is one example of what the Trump Administration is targeting in its trade dispute with China.

There were also losses for other tech firms in the region, with Sony down three percent in Tokyo and Samsung nearly two percent lower.

The arrest took place on the same day that the U.S. and Chinese presidents, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, had met for a long-awaited summit in Buenos Aires and spoken of easing an intensifying trade row.

If granted bail, Meng will likely have to post bail with "a surety of several million dollars", Vancouver lawyer Gary Botting, who has experience with extradition cases, said.

"Americans are grateful that our Canadian partners have arrested the Chief Financial Officer of a giant Chinese telecom company for breaking USA sanctions against Iran".

A spokesman for Canada's justice department said Meng requested the ban and the department could not comment further.

A Huawei spokesperson said Meng faces unspecified charges in the Eastern District of NY.

What could be behind it? The Globe and Mail newspaper cited law enforcement sources as saying she is suspected of trying to evade USA curbs on trade with Iran.

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"Recall that over 100 Chinese companies traded limit down (last month) when news broke the USA urged allies to blacklist Huawei?" He declined to talk about the specifics of the case and said he didn't know if Trump knew about before it happened but added that there has been enormous concern about the practice of Chinese firms like Huawei allegedly using stolen US intellectual property.

As well as the CFO, she is deputy chairwoman of Huawei and a daughter of the company's founder.

How have China and Huawei responded?

Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of Huawei's founder, was arrested in Vancouver at the beginning of this month, but the charges remain unknown. "Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, US and European Union", the firm said in a statement.

"The company believes the Canadian and USA legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion".

"If the Chinese need further convincing, this case would show them beyond doubt Trump's commitment", said Lam. Meng, it said, was "not violating any American or Canadian law".

"The Chinese side has lodged stern representations with the U.S. and Canadian side, and urged them to immediately correct the wrongdoing and restore the personal freedom of Ms. Meng Wanzhou". Other, less wealthy nations are concerned less about spying and more about low prices, which play to Huawei's advantage.

Huawei is one of the world's largest makers of smartphones and telecommunications network equipment, and has been labeled a national security threat by USA officials.

Huawei has been banned from helping build fundamental communications infrastructure in some western countries, including 5G telecom service, over fears that it leaves those countries vulnerable to espionage on behalf of the Chinese government. "Huawei has direct ties to the Chinese government and Communist Party, has long posed a serious risk to USA national security".

The US has brought a number of legal cases against Chinese technology firms, with accusations such as cyber-security theft and violations of Iran sanctions. It's also making it harder for Chinese firms to invest in USA companies or to buy American technology in such cutting-edge areas as robotics, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

Earlier this year, the United States banned American firms from selling parts and software to ZTE, which then paid $1 billion this summer as part of a deal to get the ban lifted.

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