Skip to content


SHENZHEN / TORONTO – Huawei’s CFO Meng Wanzhou arrived in China on Saturday after more than 1,000 days under house arrest in Canada following a deal with US prosecutors to end a fraud case against him.

Two Canadians detained by Chinese authorities just days after Meng’s arrest were also released and arrived in Calgary on Saturday, where they were met by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, local media reported.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei Technologies founder Ren Zhengfei, was allowed to go home after reaching a deal on Friday to end the fraud case. That resulted in the annulment of his US extradition hearing in a Vancouver court on the same day.

The years-long extradition drama has been a central source of contention between Beijing and Washington, with Chinese officials saying the case should be dropped to help end the diplomatic deadlock.

Chinese state media welcomed Meng back to the “homeland” on Saturday, but Chinese media was silent on Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, the two Canadians released from Chinese custody in an apparent reciprocal act by Beijing.

They were also released a few hours after Meng, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

Images from CTV News showed Trudeau welcoming the two Michaels after they arrived in the western Canadian city of Calgary.

The Prime Minister’s Office did not offer immediate comment.

The agreement opens US President Joe Biden to criticism from Chinese hawks in Washington, who argue that his administration is capitulating to China and one of its major companies at the center of a global technology rivalry between the two countries.

“BLURRY WITH TEARS”

The Chinese state broadcaster CCTV issued a statement from the Huawei executive, written as his plane flew over the North Pole, avoiding US airspace.

Her eyes were “misted with tears” as she approached the “embrace of the great motherland,” Meng said. “Without a strong homeland, I would not have the freedom that I have today.”

Meng was arrested in December 2018 in Vancouver after a New York court issued an arrest warrant, saying she tried to cover up attempts by Huawei-linked companies to sell equipment to Iran in violation of US sanctions.

After more than two years of legal wrangling, he was finally allowed to leave Canada and fly back to China on Friday, after closing the deal with US prosecutors.

Acting US Attorney Nicole Boeckmann said Meng had “assumed responsibility for her leading role in perpetuating a scheme to defraud a global financial institution.”

But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the charges against him had been “fabricated” to crack down on the country’s high-tech industries.

ARRIVAL IN SHENZEN

At the airport in Shenzhen, Meng’s hometown, a crowd of supporters chanted patriotic slogans and held up red banners to welcome his return.

“The fact that Meng Wanzhou can be found not guilty and released is a great victory in politics and diplomacy for the people of China,” said Liu Dan, who was among the crowd.

Huawei, founded by Meng’s father, Ren Zhengfei, said in a statement that it “looked forward to seeing Ms. Meng return home safely to reunite with her family.” He said he would continue to defend himself against the US accusations.

The state news agency Xinhua formally acknowledged the end of Meng’s house arrest on Saturday and attributed his release to the “tireless efforts of the Chinese government.”

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times tabloid backed by the ruling Communist Party, wrote on Twitter that “international relations have fallen into disarray” as a result of Meng’s “painful three years”.

He added: “Arbitrary detention of Chinese is not allowed.”

However, neither Hu nor other outlets have mentioned the launch of Spavor and Kovrig, and reactions on the social media platform Weibo, similar to Twitter in China, have been few and far between.

China’s Foreign Ministry has not made any public comment.

China has previously denied engaging in “hostage diplomacy”, insisting that the arrest and detention of the two Canadians were in no way linked to the extradition process against Meng.

Spavor was charged with providing Kovrig with photographs of military equipment and sentenced to 11 years in prison in August. Kovrig was still awaiting sentencing.

(Reporting by David Kirton in Shenzhen and David Stanway in Shanghai; Additional reporting by Yew Lun Tian in Beijing Writing and additional reporting by Denny Thomas Edited by Clarence Fernandez, William Mallard and Jane Merriman)

.


ctvnews Canada news