Huawei case: Washington releases Meng Wanzhou, Beijing releases two Canadians


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On September 24, 2021, Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was authorized to return to China following an agreement with the US justice system. In the process, two Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were able to fly to Canada. (Source: Mail Online)

The Canadian government, with the green light from the United States, this Friday, September 24, released the financial director of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. Two hours later the Chinese government released Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadian hostages held as bargaining chips for more than a year. The agreement, which allowed Meng to return to China, ends a three-year legal saga that has seriously complicated relations between Americans, Canadians and Chinese.

Arrested in 2018 at Vancouver airport at the request of the United States, Meng Wanzhou left Canada on Friday as part of a settlement with Canadian judicial authorities and his American accusers. Hours later, Canadian authorities announced the release of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, who had been accused of espionage by Beijing the same year. Two Canadian citizens were allowed to board a flight to Canada to be reunited with their families.

Beijing has always denied any connection between his arrest and Meng Wanzhou’s arrest. But these denials deceived no one: these two Canadians had actually become hostages, bargaining chips from the Canadian and US governments to grab Meng Wanzhou’s release. Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig may have declared their innocence, nothing helped and the unshakable logic of a Chinese justice under the orders of power kept them in their cell.

recognize the lie

At her attorney’s office in Vancouver, Meng Wanzhou waited more than an hour late on Friday for US Judge Ann Donnelly to begin a hearing in federal court in Brooklyn, New York, that would pave the way for her release. In front of her screen, she sipped tea, smiled occasionally, tried to redo her hairline, persuasively inspired, regularly, mused about this first official meeting at a distance with American justice. . Then things escalated: Meng Wanzhou skipped reading his indictment; He initially pleaded not guilty to bank fraud and wire transfer and conspiracy to commit these offences.

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However, the prosecutor submitted the terms of the sealed deal with him. Lesson plans to suspend proceedings against him until December 1, 2022 and release him definitively if he promises to honor the terms of a good conduct agreement. Key Requirement: Not to dispute the narrative of facts that explains on four pages how Huawei, of which Meng Wanzhou was the financial director, actually controlled Skycom, a telecommunications subsidiary in Iran, and despite US sanctions it was allowed to obtain banned content. managed to * . As always, it is the use of dollars (in transactions conducted by HSBC, kept in disregard of the facts) that authorizes US justice to act supranational with third parties.

In a statement, US prosecutors won, explaining that Meng Wanzhou admitted to knowingly lied to HSBC Bank about the reality of Huawei’s control over Skycom during a 2013 PowerPoint presentation in Hong Kong. “His confession confirms that Meng, as Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer, made several false statements” For “Protect the group’s banking ties” Brooklyn Deputy Attorney Nicole Boeckman alleged that HSBC, which the bank had known the reality of ties with Iran, would not have maintained it. Now the way was clear for Meng Wanzhou.

Meng was placed under house arrest at her luxurious villa in Vancouver, which was free to move around the city but was equipped with an electronic ankle bracelet. So this house arrest will last for three years. “For more than three years my life was turned upside down, he said with a bright smile outside his villa before heading to the Vancouver airport. I will never forget all the messages of support I have received from people around the world. ” A few hours later, as his plane passed over the Arctic, he sent a message on WeChat: “Under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, our motherland is decisively moving towards prosperity. I would not have been free today without the support of the motherland in which I was born. ” The Huawei company, for its part, issued a statement in which it welcomes Meng’s reunion with his family.

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“Extremely Tough Luck”

Speaking to the press, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explained that “two Michaels” knew “An extremely difficult fate”.
“In the last thousand days, he has shown courage, perseverance and resilience. They are an inspiration to all of us. ”
Both men were to reach Canada on the morning of Saturday, September 25. He is accompanied by Canadian Ambassador to China Dominic Barton.

Michael Kovrig is a former diplomat employed by the Brussels-based think tank International Crisis Group. Michael Spavor, meanwhile, is a founding member of an organization specializing in providing advice to facilitate trade and cultural exchange with North Korea. Last August, a Chinese court sentenced Michael Spavor to eleven years in prison. “Detective”. Michael Kovrig’s decision was yet to be pronounced.

In a statement, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said his country was ” Happy ” about the Chinese decision, though stating that both men had suffered “For arbitrary detention for more than two and a half years”.

Not the beginning of a new era between Beijing and Washington

Meng Wanzhou is the eldest daughter of Ren Zhengfei, the founder of Huawei in 1987. A member of the party, the latter is also a former senior officer of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), which he left in 1983. These are its relations. For the PLA, that prompted the US administration to adopt sanctions against Huawei, one of the world’s largest telecommunications equipment makers. Washington accuses Huawei of spying through a “backdoor” (« Backdoor ») Allows access to confidential data of its users across its devices. The allegation that the group has always vehemently denied.

In 2019, the US government placed Huawei on a blacklist, banning the export of the Chinese firm’s material to US soil. The United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, Japan, Israel, then France, India and many other countries have followed suit.

Huawei was the world’s largest supplier of telecommunications networks until recently and, until recently, China’s largest smartphone maker. The company is headquartered in Shenzhen, twenty kilometers north of Hong Kong. As difficulties mounted, Huawei was recently forced to sell its entry-level cellphone brand Honor and move its business to new areas such as the cloud or smart cars.

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Recall that smartphone marketing represents the bulk of Huawei’s turnover, which stood at $36.5 billion in the first half of 2020, far ahead of the telecommunications equipment used by 5G networks. . Due to US sanctions, “Huawei will, in all likelihood, drastically reduce sales of its smartphones”, Quoted by Greg Austin, researcher at the Institute for Strategic Studies of Singapore, estimated on August 19, 2019 South China Morning Post.

Will the outcome of this case calm the relations between China and America to some extent? This comes at a time when relations between the Americans, Australians and British have become more strained by the Ocas Tripartite Agreement. Ended last week, it aims to counter Chinese militarism with the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines by Canberra.

Anyway, it is clear that this matter, which has just been resolved, has been the subject of negotiations between Beijing and Washington. But the concomitant release of Meng Wanzhou and the two Canadians is more the result of a diplomatic agreement between Washington and Beijing than the beginning of a new era in their relationship, which has been more significant than ever since the government’s decision to recognize the People’s Republic of China. Hasn’t been so stressful. China in 1979

by Pierre-Antoine Donet

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About the Author

Former AFP journalist, Pierre-Antoine Donet is the author of about fifteen books devoted to China, Japan, Tibet, India and major Asian challenges. In 2020, this former correspondent in Beijing published “World Leadership in Question, the Conflict between China and the United States” with dition de l’Aub. He is also the author of “Tibet Dead or Alive”, published by Gallimard in 1990 and republished in an updated and expanded edition in 2019.

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