Economy

China demands release of Huawei executive

China demands release of Huawei executive

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's chief financial officer, Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, was arrested as part of a USA investigation into an alleged scheme to use the global banking system to evade United States sanctions against Iran, according to sources familiar with the situation.

But it has since emerged that on the day the leaders talked trade in Argentina, the chief financial officer and deputy chairman of Huawei was arrested in Canada at the request of the US.

The Chinese embassy in the Canadian capital Ottawa had also taken the floor and appealed to the US "to correct the misstep and restore Mrs. Meng Wanzhou's personal freedom".

Huawei is one of the largest tech companies in the world, but it has been under pressure in nations like the U.S., U.K., and Australia for allegedly doing the bidding of the Chinese government.

James Lewis, the director of technology policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Axios the US should be prepared for a backlash and warned American tech executives to steer clear of China for now. He also claimed that the incident "will seriously impact China and the US implementing consensus reached between two state leaders".

Huawei is one of the world's largest telecommunications equipment and service providers.

The British bank HSBC is cooperating with USA authorities in its investigation, people familiar with the matter said Thursday.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has defended the decision by Canadian authorities to execute a USA extradition request and detain a Huawei executive. The company says it abides by all laws and rules where it operates.

The shock arrest of Meng Wanzhou, 46, who is Huawei Technologies Co Ltd's chief financial officer, raises fresh doubts over a 90-day truce on trade struck between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping on Saturday - the day she was detained.

Confirming that China has lodged stern representations the United States and Canada, Geng demanded that Canada "immediately clarify the reasons for this detention, immediately release the detainee, and effectively protect the legitimate rights of the detainee".

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Under Trump and his predecessor, Barack Obama, Washington has pressured European countries and other allies to limit use of Huawei's technology. "Now we know that Huawei, like ZTE, has violated USA sanctions law".

"Without any solid evidence, the Canadian and United States governments trampled on worldwide law by basically "kidnapping" Chinese citizen Meng", an official with the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a Global Times op-ed. The company was banned in August from working on Australia's fifth-generation network.

Earlier this year, it barred United States companies from exporting to ZTE, effectively shutting down the firm.

Huawei, which overtook Apple Inc as the world's No. 2 smartphone maker this year, said it was unaware of any wrongdoing by Meng and was provided "very little information" about the charges.

"That's something we should be watching out for".

"We are closely watching the developments in Asia after reports that Canada has arrested the Huawei CFO facing USA extradition for allegedly violating Iran sanctions. It's a possibility. China plays rough", Mulroney told The Associated Press.

Some in the China business community think this arrest shows that the Trump administration has stopped treating China as a special case, and will now deal with Chinese companies as it deals with its own companies that break the law. Huawei is by far China's most global technology company, with operations spanning Africa, Europe and Asia.

The arrest comes at a delicate time in US-China relations.

The U.S. sees Huawei and smaller Chinese tech suppliers as possible fronts for espionage, and as commercial competition.

Both Huawei and ZTE have not only been barred from use by USA government agencies and contractors; they have also been mostly locked out of the American market.