In custody: A profile of Meng is displayed on a computer at a Huawei store in Beijing. The Chinese government, speaking through its embassy in Canada, strenuously objected to the arrest, and demanded Meng’s immediate release. — AP
China urges release of Huawei executive
– In violation of universal human rights
Chinese officials are urging the US and Canada to clarify why Meng Wanzhou, a senior executive of Huawei Technologies, has been detained and to immediately release her, slamming the arrest as a violation of her rights.
Experts said on Thursday that Meng’s detention is a move by the US to heat up the ongoing trade war between China and the US.
Meng, who is Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei, was detained as she was transferring flights in Canada, according to information provided by Huawei, one of China’s tech giants.
Meng’s detention was made following a request by the US, which is seeking her extradition on as yet unspecified charges made by prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York, a Huawei spokesperson told the Global Times on Thursday.
Meng was arrested in Vancouver on Saturday, the New York Times reported on Thursday, citing a spokesperson from Canada’s Justice Department.
“China has demanded that the US and Canada immediately clarify the reasons for Meng’s detention and to release her,” Geng Shuang, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told a daily press briefing on Thursday.
He noted that Chinese consular officials in Canada have already provided assistance to Meng.
Meng’s detention, made without any clearly stated charges, is an obvious violation of her human rights, said Geng.
The Chinese Embassy in Canada also said on Thursday morning that it firmly opposes and has made strong protests over the action which has seriously curtailed the rights of a Chinese citizen.
“The Chinese side has lodged stern representations with the US and Canadian side, and urged them to immediately correct the wrongdoing and restore the personal freedom of Meng Wanzhou,” the Chinese Embassy in Canada said in a statement published on its website.
A Canadian source with knowledge of the arrest was quoted in the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail on Thursday as saying that US law enforcement authorities allege that Huawei violated US sanctions against Iran but provided no further details.
Although Meng’s detention stems from terms of the US-Canada extradition treaty, the US should not be taking such legal action without providing concrete evidence, especially when it has been trying to restore relations with China, Hao Junbo, a Beijing-based lawyer, told the Global Times on Thursday.
Chinese officials and experts criticized the US for its long-arm jurisdiction, which not only hurts individuals but also enterprises.
Huawei has been targeted by the US for many years, from patent infringement lawsuits to political pressure, Xiang Ligang, chief executive of the telecom industry news site cctime.com, told the Global Times on Thursday.
“As the Chinese company grew stronger, it faced more obstacles in foreign markets as it is considered as a threat to local players,” he said.
Cisco Systems filed the first lawsuit against Huawei in 2003. Motorola filed a lawsuit accusing Huawei of theft of trade secrets in 2010, according to media reports. The company also faced investigation by the US Congress on security issues.
Since at least 2016, US authorities have been probing Huawei’s alleged shipping of US-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of US export and sanctions laws, Reuters reported in April.
The US also asked its major allies to say ‘no’ to Huawei equipment, as it was worried about alleged potential Chinese meddling in 5G networks, the Wall Street Journal reported on November 23.
While the company faces rising difficulties in the US market, it has been actively exploring other markets such as the EU and Africa.
It became the world’s largest telecom equipment provider in 2017, surpassing Ericsson and ZTE, industry website telecomlead.com reported in March, citing IHS data.
Huawei has a 28 percent market share in the global telecom infrastructure industry, followed by Ericsson and Nokia, which have 27 percent and 23 percent respectively, said the report.
Escalating trade war
The US will not stop countering China’s rise in the technology sector and will never drop its hostility toward China’s “Made in China 2025” strategy, Wang Yanhui, head of the Shanghai-based Mobile China Alliance, told the Global Times on Thursday.
“Huawei has become another card for the US to play against China in the ongoing trade war,” he said.
China and the US announced a trade truce following a meeting between the two countries’ top leaders in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
But experts warned that China should be prepared for a long-lasting and heated trade war with the US, as it will continue to attempt to counter China’s rising power.
“The latest Huawei incident shows that we should get ready for long-term confrontation between China and the US, as the US will not ease its stance on China and the arrest of a senior executive of a major Chinese tech company is a vivid example,” Mei Xinyu, a research fellow with the Beijing-based Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the Global Times on Thursday.
Huawei said there is very little information about specific allegations and that the company is not aware of any misconduct by Meng.
“The company complies with all laws and regulations in the countries in which it operates, including export control and sanctions laws applied in the UN, the US and the EU,” Huawei said. – Global Times by Chen Qingqing
We hope that Canadian authorities handle the case seriously and properly. We also hope that Ms Meng will be treated humanely and will be bailed out. We would like to see Meng’s case being handled properly, so that she can regain her freedom as soon as possible. Chinese society has always respected Canada, and it is sincerely hoped that the way how Canadian authorities handle this matter will live up to Chinese people’s expectation and impressions regarding the country.
The Chinese government should seriously go behind the US tendency to abuse legal procedures to suppress China’s high-tech enterprises. It should increase interaction with the US and exert pressure when necessary. China has been exercising restraint, but the US cannot act recklessly. US President Donald Trump should rein in the hostile activities of some Americans who may imperil Sino-US relations.
US takes aim at Huawei
Arrest of telecom giant’s CFO escalates US-China tech battle
THE Trump administration’s efforts to extradite the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies Co over criminal charges mark the start of an even more aggressive phase in the technology rivalry between the United States and China and will increase pressure on Washington’s allies to shun the telecommunications company.
Armed with a US extradition request, Canadian authorities arrested Meng Wanzhou on Dec 1, the same day as President Trump was holding a summit with Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping. But White House officials said Trump had no advance knowledge of the arrest, indicating the action was on a separate track from trade talks currently under way between Washington and Beijing.
Meng’s detention underscores a sense of urgency, at the Justice Department and other US agencies, to address what they see as a growing threat to national security posed by China’s ambitions to gain an edge in the tech sector. For years, Washington has alleged the Chinese government could compel Huawei, which supplies much of the world with critical cellular network equipment, to spy or to disrupt communications.
Huawei has long said it is an employee-owned company and isn’t beholden to any government, and has never used its equipment to spy on or sabotage other countries. The Chinese government, speaking through its embassy in Canada, strenuously objected to the arrest, and demanded Meng’s immediate release.
US prosecutors made the extradition request based on a sealed indictment for alleged violations of Iran sanctions that had been prepared for some time, people familiar with the matter said. A federally appointed US overseer, formerly charged with evaluating HSBC Holdings PLC’s anti-money-laundering and sanctions controls, relayed information about suspicious Huawei transactions to federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York, some of the people said.
Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, is now in custody in Vancouver, and a bail hearing has been scheduled for Friday, according to a spokesman for Canada’s justice department.
Some worried a lack of coordination on the various strands of the Trump administration’s China initiatives could be counterproductive, especially if Trump decides to use the detention of Meng as leverage to extract concessions in the trade talks. The two sides agreed on a 90-day window from the Dec 1 summit to settle a trade dispute that has seen the two sides exchange tit-for-tat tariffs on each other’s goods.
“I’m very concerned that that’s just going to ratchet this trade war and make negotiations much more difficult,” said Gary Locke, former US ambassador to China. “This is I think a really hot-button, almost a grenade with respect to the 90-day negotiations.”
China has a long history of reading darker motives into US actions. “The risk is conspiracy theories in Beijing,” said China scholar Michael Pillsbury at Hudson Institute, who consults regularly with the Trump trade team. He compares the events to when China rejected US explanations that the United States had made a mistake when it bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in 1999 during the Kosovo war.
The arrest indicated the Justice Department had significant evidence against Meng, and that additional charges were likely, said Brian Fleming, a trade and national security lawyer at Miller & Chevalier. “This is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said.
The arrest could also add ammunition to an extraordinary US government campaign to persuade wireless and Internet providers in allied countries to stop using telecommunications equipment from Huawei, said national security experts. US officials say they are intensifying efforts to curb Huawei because wireless carriers world-wide are about to upgrade to 5G, a new wireless technology that will connect many more items—factory parts, self-driving cars and everyday objects like wearable health monitors – to the Internet. US officials say they don’t want to give Beijing the potential to interfere with an ever-growing universe of connected devices.
By Kate O’keeffe and Bob Davis
Huawei reveals the real trade war with China
IF you only scan the headlines, you could be forgiven for thinking that the US-China trade war is mainly about tariffs.
After all, the president and trade-warrior-in-chief has called himself “Tariff Man”. And the tentative trade deal between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping was mainly about tariffs, especially on items like automobiles.
But the startling arrest in Canada of a Chinese telecom company executive should wake people up to the fact that there’s a second US-China trade war going on – a much more stealthy conflict, fought with weapons much subtler and more devastating than tariffs. And the prize in that other struggle is domination of the information-technology industry.
The arrested executive, Wanzhou Meng, is the chief financial officer of telecom-equipment manufacturer Huawei Technologies Co (and its founder’s daughter). The official reason for her arrest is that Huawei is suspected of selling technology to Iran, in violation of US sanctions.
It’s the second big Chinese tech company to be accused of breaching those sanctions – the first was ZTE Corp in 2017. The United States punished ZTE by forbidding it from buying American components – most importantly, telecom chips made by US-based Qualcomm Inc.
Those purchasing restrictions were eventually lifted after ZTE agreed to pay a fine, and it seems certain that Huawei will also eventually escape severe punishment. But these episodes highlight Chinese companies’ dependence on critical US technology.
The United States. still makes – or at least, designs – the best computer chips in the world. China assembles lots of electronics, but without those crucial inputs of US technology, products made by companies such as Huawei would be of much lower quality.
Export restrictions, and threats of restrictions, are thus probably not just about sanctions – they’re about making life harder for the main competitors of US tech companies.
Huawei just passed Apple Inc to become the world’s second-largest smartphone maker by market share (Samsung Electronics Co is first). This marks a change for China, whose companies have long been stuck doing low-value assembly while companies in rich countries do the high-value design, marketing and component manufacturing.
US moves against Huawei and ZTE may be intended to force China to remain a cheap supplier instead of a threatening competitor.
The subtle, far-sighted nature of this approach suggests that the impetus for the high-tech trade war goes far beyond what Trump, with his focus on tariffs and old-line manufacturing industries, would think of. It seems likely that US tech companies, as well as the military intelligence communities, are influencing policy here as well.
In fact, more systematic efforts to block Chinese access to US components are in the works. The Export Control Reform Act, passed this summer, increased regulatory oversight of US exports of “emerging” and “foundational” technologies deemed to have national-security importance. Although national security is certainly a concern, it’s generally hard to separate high-tech industrial and corporate dominance from military dominance, so this too should be seen as part of the trade war.
A second weapon in the high-tech trade war is investment restrictions. The Trump administration has greatly expanded its power to block Chinese investments in US technology companies, through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.
The goal of investment restrictions is to prevent Chinese companies from copying or stealing American ideas and technologies. Chinese companies can buy American companies and transfer their intellectual property overseas, or have their employees train their Chinese replacements.
Even minority stakes can allow a Chinese investor access to industrial secrets that would otherwise be off-limits. By blocking these investors, the Trump administration hopes to preserve US technological dominance, at least for a little while longer.
Notably, the European Union is also moving to restrict Chinese investments. The fact that Europe, which has opposed Trump’s tariffs, is copying American investment restrictions, should be a signal that the less-publicised high-tech trade war is actually the important one.
The high-tech trade war shows that for all the hoopla over manufacturing jobs, steel, autos and tariffs, the real competition is in the tech sector.
Losing the lead in the global technology race means lower profits and a disappearing military advantage. But it also means losing the powerful knowledge-industry clustering effects that have been an engine of US economic growth in the post-manufacturing age. Bluntly put, the United States can afford to lose its lead in furniture manufacturing; it can’t afford to lose its dominance in the tech sector.
The question is whether the high-tech trade war will succeed in keeping China in second place. China has long wanted to catch up in semiconductor manufacturing, but export controls will make that goal a necessity rather than an aspiration. And investment restrictions may spur China to upgrade its own homegrown research and development capacity.
In other words, in the age when China and the United States were economically co-dependent, China might have been content to accept lower profit margins and keep copying American technology instead of developing its own. But with the coming of the high-tech trade war, that co-dependency is coming to an end. Perhaps that was always inevitable, as China pressed forward on the technological frontier. In any case, the Trump administration’s recent moves against Chinese tech – and some similar moves by the EU – should be seen as the first shots in a long war.
— Bloomberg by Noah Smit