With the end of the long-standing dispute over Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, China’s relations with the United States and Canada are a poorer point of contention. Canada has let the top manager of the Chinese group, appointed in Vancouver at the end of 2018, leave the country after accepting an agreement with the American authorities. China immediately dispatched two Canadian businessmen who had been detained for almost the same length of time.
Huawei chief financial officer and daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei was arrested in December 2018 at the instigation of U.S. authorities in Vancouver, Canada. The US government has accused the network equipment manager and the smartphone supplier, among others, of bank fraud. Meng has always protested his innocence and accused the authorities of violating his rights during the arrest.
In Beijing, the process was seen as part of the trade war between then-US President Donald Trump and China. As part of their deal with the US Department of Justice, Meng has now indirectly admitted to misinforming a bank of Huawei’s activities in Iran.
According to the agreement, proceedings against Meng will initially be suspended until December 1, 2022, and then halted if she adheres to the terms of the agreement. Among other things, Meng pledged not to contradict the presentation of individual facts by the US side. But she stuck with her claim of innocence until the end.
Two Canadians return from China
The Meng affair had taken on political dimensions on a larger scale. Shortly after the director’s arrest, Chinese authorities arrested two Canadian businessmen. In August this year, one of them was finally convicted of espionage and obtaining state secrets and sentenced to 11 years in prison. China has received protests from abroad and accusations of “hostage diplomacy.” The second Canadian also had to answer in court in China for allegations of espionage. In the end, there was no judgment against the former diplomat.
Instead, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was able to announce Saturday night after the deal in the Causa Meng that his two compatriots were on a plane on their way home. By this time, Meng had already left Canada – on a plane chartered by the Chinese government, as reported by Chinese state television channel CCTV.
Relations between the governments of Beijing and Ottawa have been strained since Meng’s arrest. China has imposed import restrictions on rapeseed oil and other export products from Canada. At least three suspected Canadian drug traffickers have also been sentenced to death in the People’s Republic.