China welcomes Huawei executive house, Trudeau embraces Canadians freed by Beijing

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SHENZHEN, China / TORONTO, Sept. 25 (Reuters) – Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou arrived in China on Saturday, ending his nearly three-year extradition fight in the United States, the same day two Canadians detained by Beijing for more than 1,000 days have returned home, potentially paving the way for better relations between China and the two Western allies.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei Technologies founder Ren Zhengfei, was allowed to return home after reaching a deal with U.S. prosecutors on Friday to end a bank fraud case against her.

The extradition drama has been a central source of contention between Beijing and Washington, with Chinese officials signaling that the case must be closed to help end a diplomatic standoff.

Two Canadians held by Chinese authorities just days after Meng’s arrest – Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor – were kissed on the tarmac by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after landing in Calgary.

“You have shown incredible strength, resilience and perseverance,” Trudeau said in a Twitter message with photos of him welcoming them to the house. “Know that Canadians across the country will continue to be there for you, just as they have been.

In the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, Meng wore a red-colored patriotic dress as she exited a plane to be greeted by supporters.

“I’m finally back home,” Meng told the ruling Communist Party-backed tabloid Global Times. “The wait in a foreign land was full of suffering. I was speechless the moment my feet touched Chinese soil.”

Chinese state media hailed Meng’s return, but remained silent on Kovrig and Spavor, who were released hours after Meng on Friday. Read more

Huawei said in a statement that it “looks forward to seeing Ms. Meng return home safely to reunite with her family.” He said he would continue to defend himself against the US charges.

The deal opened US President Joe Biden to critics from the Chinese Washington Hawks who claim his administration is capitulating to China and one of its major companies at the center of a global tech rivalry between the two countries.

Some Republican senators were quick to condemn Meng’s release and urged the White House to address the US Congress on the matter.

“Ms. Meng’s release raises serious questions about President Biden’s ability and willingness to deal with the threat posed by Huawei and the Chinese Communist Party,” Marco Rubio said in a text message to Reuters. Read more

Senator Jim Risch said in a statement that the deal was “a victory for one of the most brutal and cruel regimes in the world,” and would encourage the Communist Party “to use other foreign citizens as bargaining chips. because he now knows that the hostage-taking is a success. way to get what he wants. “

Some Chinese commentators have felt the opposite.

Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou waves upon arrival from Canada at Shenzhen Baoan International Airport in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, China on September 25, 2021. CCTV via REUTERS TV ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALE. NO ARCHIVES. IN CHINA.

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“By agreeing to let Meng return to China, the Biden administration is signaling that it hopes to clean up the mess left by the former Trump administration,” said Wu Xinbo, dean of the Institute for International Studies at Fudan University. .

“SEARCH FOR TEARS”

China’s state-owned CCTV broadcaster broadcast a statement by Meng, written as his plane flew over the North Pole, avoiding US airspace. Meng said her eyes were “blurry with tears” as she approached “the embrace of the great homeland.”

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.

Acting US attorney Nicole Boeckmann said Meng had “taken responsibility for his lead role in perpetuating a scheme to defraud a global financial institution.” Read more

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the charges against her were “fabricated” to suppress the country’s high-tech industries. Read more

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

“The fact that Meng Wanzhou can be found not guilty and released is a huge political and diplomatic victory for the Chinese people,” said Liu Dan, who was among the crowd.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency attributed Meng’s release to “the Chinese government’s unremitting efforts.”

Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, wrote on Twitter that “international relations have fallen into chaos” following Meng’s “three painful years”.

He added, “No arbitrary detention of Chinese is allowed.

However, neither Hu nor other local media have mentioned the release of Spavor and Kovrig, and reactions on China’s Twitter-like social media platform Weibo have been sparse.

China’s Foreign Ministry has not commented publicly.

China has previously denied engaging in “hostage diplomacy,” insisting that the arrest and detention of the Canadians was in no way related to the prosecution of Meng.

Spavor was accused of providing photographs of military equipment to Kovrig and sentenced to 11 years in prison in August. Kovrig was still awaiting his conviction.

Report by David Kirton in Shenzhen and David Stanway in Shanghai; Additional reporting by Yew Lun Tian and Denny Thomas, and Michael Martina and Lucia Mutikani in Washington; Writing by Denny Thomas; Editing by Clarence Fernandez, William Mallard, Jane Merriman and Daniel Wallis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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