The CFO of China’s Huawei Technologies is Meng Wanzhou. She’s not only the CFO, she’s also the daughter of the company’s founder. Back in 2018 she was arrested in Canada and was expected to be extradited to the U.S. to face charges that she had induced banks to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran. Within days of Meng’s arrest, China responded by arresting two Canadian businessmen operating in China. The allegations against the two businessmen were a mirror image of the charges against Meng and it was obvious to everyone that the men were being treated as hostages to prevent Meng from being extradited to the U.S.
The court case over the extradition continues to drag on through Canadian courts. Last summer the court reached a major decision that appeared to pave the way for her extradition but Meng’s legal team has alleged her arrest involved a cover up and Canadian spies. While all of this is happening Meng is living a life of luxury while out on bail. And now her team is requesting the judge grant her even more freedom:
Ms. Meng receives regular private painting lessons and massages at the mansion. She has gone on private shopping sprees at stores reserved for her and her entourage, albeit with a GPS tracker on her left ankle. She spent Christmas Day at a restaurant that opened just for her, her husband, her two children and 10 other guests.
This week, her legal team made another request: that she be allowed to leave her home without security guards. A judge is expected to rule at the end of the month…
During this week’s hearing, Ms. Meng’s defense team argued that her security guards undermined her ability to go outside with her children because the guards attracted too much media attention. Ms. Meng’s husband Liu Xiaozong testified that posed a potential health risk to Ms. Meng since she had undergone surgery for thyroid cancer several years ago and suffers from hypertension.
Poor Meng. She’s trapped in an $11 million mansion with her family, barely able to go outside except when she takes over entire stores or restaurants. Basically, she is living like a queen or maybe a very successful pop star while out on bail. Meanwhile the two Canadian businessmen China arrested as convenient hostages have not been nearly so lucky:
For two years, the Canadian men have been held in separate prisons in northern China, largely cut off from the rest of the world. They have been accused of espionage, without evidence, and forced to go months without visits from diplomats. They have waited as their cases have meandered through China’s opaque legal system, despite calls around the world for their release…
Mr. Kovrig, who worked for a nonprofit organization, has been confined to a small jail cell in Beijing and was subjected to repeated interrogations early in his detention. During his incarceration, his diet has, at times, been restricted to rice and boiled vegetables, he told his family.
The Chinese authorities have kept Mr. Kovrig so isolated that he was not aware of the details of the coronavirus pandemic until October, his wife, Vina Nadjibulla said, when Canadian diplomats informed him during a virtual visit…
The harsh treatment of Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor reflects the strongman foreign policy of China’s top leader, Xi Jinping. The Chinese government has steadily escalated the crisis, accusing Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor of endangering state security and indicting them in June on espionage charges. The two men now face the possibility of a trial in Chinese courts, which are controlled by the ruling Communist Party.
It’s not hard to see what’s happening here. China has turned two unfortunate businessmen into political prisoners. No doubt their situation will get worse if Meng is extradited as she should be. This is quite literally a hostage situation perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party.
David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, accused China of holding the two Canadians for ransom. “Every step in the legal process against Ms. Meng is mirrored by a fake Chinese process,” Mr. Mulroney said. “Meng is a princess in their system.”
I suspect the request to lose the guards is a step toward China taking her secretly out of the country. I hope the Canadian court isn’t dumb enough to fall for it. On the other hand you have to wonder if prosecuting Meng is really worth the price China will make Korvig and Spavor pay, not because they did anything wrong but because, well, this guy said it best: