Chinese Embassy in Ottawa requires release of Huawei executive arrested in Vancouver



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VANCOUVER (Reuters) – China's embassy in Ottawa is demanding the immediate release of the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, who was arrested in Vancouver over the weekend and facing possible extradition to the United States.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the embassy says Wanzhou Meng did not violate any American or Canadian law, and called the arrest a serious violation of human rights.

The document says that China will follow closely the evolution of the case and "will take all steps to resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens."

Meanwhile, an official in the B.C. The Supreme Court says that Meng appeared in court on Wednesday and that a bail hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Justice Department spokesman Ian McLeod said in an e-mail that Meng was arrested on Saturday, but additional details can not be provided because a ban on publication is in effect at her request.

McLeod says the US is seeking Meng's extradition.

It is not known which law is allegedly violated in Canada.

In a statement, Huawei says Meng is being sought for extradition to face unspecified charges in the Eastern District of New York. She was arrested when she moved flights in Canada, he told Huawei.

"The company received very little information on the allegations and is not aware of any irregularity of Meng Meng," the statement said. "The company believes that the legal systems in Canada and the US will reach a fair conclusion."

A spokesman for the US Justice Department declined to comment.

In April, China called on Washington to avoid harming business confidence following a Wall Street Journal report that US officials would have investigated whether Huawei violated sanctions against Iran amid escalating tensions with the technology.

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said China hoped the US would refrain from taking measures that could further undermine investor confidence in the US business environment and hurt its domestic economy.

In the same month, Washington banned rival ZTE Corp. to export US technology in a separate case on exports to Iran and North Korea.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Huawei said the company complies with all laws and regulations of the countries where it operates, including export controls, sanctions laws and United Nations, United States and European Union regulations.

US President Trump threatened to increase tariffs on Chinese products in response to complaints that Beijing improperly pressured foreign companies to deliver the technology. This is widely seen as part of Washington's broader effort to respond to intensified competition with Chinese technology industries which Trump says benefits from improper subsidies and market barriers. The escalation of the trade war is threatening global economic growth and has put global investors on the brink.

David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said US and Canadian businessmen may face reprisals in China.

"This is something we should be watching, it's a possibility. China plays hard," Mulroney told The Associated Press. "He is a prominent member of his society and is a company that truly embodies China's pursuit of global recognition as a technological power."

Mulroney said Canada should be prepared for the "prolonged fury" of the Chinese and said it will be portrayed in China as Canada bowing to Trump. He also said that Iran's claims are very harmful to Huawei and said that China will press hard.

US Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican member of the Senate banking and services committees, applauded Canada for the arrest.

"Americans are grateful that our Canadian partners have arrested the financial director of a giant Chinese telecommunications company for (allegedly) breaking US sanctions against Iran," he said.

Meng is a prominent member of Chinese society as deputy chairman of Huawei's board and daughter of the company's founder, Ren Zhengfei.

With Associated Press archives

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