Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer and daughter of Huawei founder and CEO, Ren Zhengfei, has been arrested in Vancouver at the request of US law enforcement on suspicion of allegedly violating U.S. trade sanctions against Iran.
According to Canada’s The Globe and Mail, Wanzhou was arrested on Saturday, 1 December 2018, because she is being sought for extradition by the United States, and a bail hearing has been set for Friday 7 December 2018. The United States alleges that Ms Meng tried to evade the American embargo against Iran.
“The company has been provided very little information about the charge, and is not aware of any wrongdoings done by Ms Meng,” said Chen Lifang, Director and President of Huawei’s Public Affairs and Communications Department.
Following the arrest, the Chinese Embassy in Canada voiced its strong opposition to the situation, calling the arrest of Ms Meng a “violation of human rights” and demanding that she be granted her personal freedom.
China’s embassy in Canada on Thursday demanded the immediate release of Chinese national Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested by Canadian police at the request of the US, even though she hasn’t violated any US or Canadian laws, calling the move a serious violation of human rights. pic.twitter.com/wM5HqFrjde
— People’s Daily,China (@PDChina) December 6, 2018
“The Chinese side has lodged stern representations with the U.S. and Canadian side, urged them to immediately correct the wrongdoing and restore the personal liberty of Ms Meng Wanzhou,” the embassy said in a statement. “We will closely follow the development of the issue and take all measures to resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.”
The incident has sparked concern over the impact it may have on Canadian-Chinese relations and that the already tenuous relationship between the US and China may worsen. Having already sparked outrage in China, considering that Ms Meng is such a high-profile Chinese citizen, the arrest will likely have a negative impact on Huawei’s business in other Western countries with strong ties to the US.
Being a former People’s Liberation Army engineer with a connection to the Chinese Communist Party, Huawei’s CEO has raised suspicions within US intelligence agencies such as the FBI, CIA, and NSA. These suspicions are rooted in Huawei’s close ties with the Chinese government and have made the US “deeply concerned about the risks of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don’t share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks,” according to FBI Director, Chris Wray.
Ms Meng personally requested a publication ban until after her bail hearing on Friday.