"Western egoism and white supremacy" are behind arrogant adoption of double standards that led to the arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, China's ambassador to Canada Lu Shaye wrote in a highly critical op-ed published by Ottawa-based newspaper The Hill Times this week. The envoy reiterated Beijing's official stance on the controversy that already saw the Canadian government being accused of acting as a puppet of the United States, in addition to mocking the very notion that 13 arrests of Canadian nationals that followed in China were somehow retaliation for the original ordeal. Besides accusing Canada of racist policies, Mr. Lu claimed the North American country doesn't respect the judicial autonomy of China, pointing to its reaction to the aforementioned arrests as evidence of that supposed misstep. According to the ambassador, China doesn't use its courts to further political agendas, whereas that's exactly what he alleged Canada and the U.S. are doing.
Similar criticism came from the Far East last month after President Donald Trump said he'd intervene in Ms. Meng's case if he believed doing so was beneficial to the U.S. and its ongoing trade negotiations with China. Beijing supporters and some of those opposing the current stateside administration interpreted the comments as an admission that the American judicial system isn't independent and is instead just a tool of the federal government, though the President didn't respond to those allegations which some other administration officials later described as frivolous. Mr. Lu's latest accusations weren't just aimed at Ottawa but also targeted select members of the Canadian media which have been calling for immediate releases of over dozen Canadian nationals arrested in China since Ms. Meng's apprehension. He pointed to a lack of sympathy for Ms. Meng's case in Canada as evidence of double standards, consequently concluding at least parts of the country fell victim to egoism and racism.
When there's smoke, there's fire
The ambassador's argument hinges on the notion that Ms. Meng's December 1 arrest was illegal as China's communist government continues to believe, claiming the move was politically motivated and hence in direct violation of international law. The U.S. Department of Justice is presently trying to have the 46-year-old extradited, with the industry veteran defending herself in Vancouver after being released on bail equivalent to $7.5 million on December 10. She remains under limited house arrest and had to hand over her passport as a Canadian court deemed her a flight risk. And while the Chinese view of the situation centers on the act of her arrest, the Western perspective draws attention to the circumstances that led to it; while many details of the case are yet to be officially disclosed, the DOJ is understood to be accusing Ms. Meng of partaking in an illegal banking scheme that defrauded numerous financial institutions and was organized with the intention of violating trade embargoes placed on Iran. Huawei officials repeatedly expressed their disappointment with the development, arguing they never saw any evidence of Ms. Meng's wrongdoing, related to this case or otherwise.
And it's getting smoky in here
As the C-suite executive managed to win a publication ban in the meantime, the media's ability to discover and report on the facts surrounding the case remains crippled. However, it was precisely investigative journalism that contributed to the charges that are now being pressed against Ms. Meng, with recent developments suggesting U.S. regulators pursued numerous previous reports about Huawei's suspicious activities in the Middle East. A combination of new and previously emerged evidence indicates Huawei's CFO was directly connected to two front companies in Syria and Iran, both of which ceased their operations by now. While the DOJ is said to be unsure whether Huawei ultimately managed to circumvent the trade sanctions on Iran, it has little doubt about that being its primary intention when it comes to its ties to Skycom, a Hong Kong firm that used to operate an Iranian affiliate. Ms. Meng is understood to have personally vouched for Skycom and Huawei not being directly affiliated outside of a standard business relationship, but investigators appear to suspect the former was actually a satellite of the latter. Its CFO, who also happens to be one of the three children of its founder Ren Zhengfei, served on Skycom's board of directors around a decade ago, regulatory filings previously revealed.
A point of no return
Ms. Meng's arrest and the currently ongoing legal process threatening her long-term freedom sparked a massive diplomatic incident even before China started detaining Canadian nationals as part of law enforcement activities it officially describes as entirely unrelated to the case of Huawei's senior executive. If extradited, the CFO is facing up to 30 years in federal prison, with her absence already causing a minor leadership crisis at the Shenzen-based technology giant. At the same time, the company recently managed to grow to unprecedented heights, both in terms of smartphone shipments and sales, having reportedly overtaken Apple and became the world's second-largest handset manufacturer in 2018. The said achievement is still largely being interpreted as a Pyrrhic victory given all of the troubles Huawei is now enduring. Some of the company's senior officials previously even alleged the U.S. has a bone to pick with it due to its growing competitiveness, alleging stateside companies cannot keep up with its technologies from most perspectives. However, the Western intelligence community's actual stance is that Huawei's close ties to Beijing that go all the way up to Mr. Ren, former People's Liberation Army officer, as well as China's existing legislative framework make the company a major security risk. Even assuming the conglomerate never spied on foreign customers on behalf of the Far Eastern country in the past, there's essentially nothing stopping the communist government from forcing it to do so in the future, Washington previously argued. The current situation marks a point of no return for all involved parties, regardless of whether Ms. Meng ends up being extradited, convicted, or both. The relationship between Huawei and the West appears to have been damaged beyond reparation and will likely prevent the company from doing any large-scale business in the U.S. moving forward.