China Politics

China's state-controlled media claim Canada is putting on a 'show trial' for Huawei executive

Key Points
  • The state-run China Daily newspaper says in an editorial that Canada's arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou shows it's bowing to pressure from the United States in a bid to thwart the Chinese company's 5G ambitions.
  • The U.S. wants Canada to extradite Meng for allegedly violating sanctions imposed on Iran.
  • Meng's treatment, including being handcuffed, has violated her rights and helped to give off the air of a "show trial," the English-language paper said.
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested on an extradition warrant, appears at her B.C. Supreme Court bail hearing along with a translator, in a drawing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada December 7, 2018.
Jane Wolsak | Reuters

A Chinese state-run newspaper lashed out at Canada on Sunday over the arrest of a top Huawei executive, saying it is bowing to pressure from the United States and likening her treatment to a "show trial" aimed at humiliating China for challenging the U.S. in global technology leadership.

Justice authorities in Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's chief financial officer and daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, on Dec. 1 in Vancouver, reportedly over alleged violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran. Meng faces possible extradition to the U.S.

The detention comes within the broader context of the U.S.-China trade war and just as President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping agreed to a 90-day truce at the G-20 Summit in Buenos Aires.

The English-language China Daily, in an editorial published Sunday on its website, accused Canada of detaining Meng for the sake of its relations with the U.S. The paper stressed that Washington maintains close intelligence ties with Ottawa under the "Five Eyes" sharing arrangement that also includes Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

"The country has surrendered to the United States' ugly politics by detaining Meng Wanzhou," the state-controlled China Daily said.

Reuters reported Sunday that Canadian prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley said at a court hearing on Friday that a warrant for Meng's arrest was issued in New York on Aug. 22.

According to Reuters, Gibb-Carsley also said that Huawei had carried out business in Iran by using a Hong Kong-based company Skycom and Meng misled U.S. banks about the relationship. Meng said that Huawei sold Skycom in 2009.

Huawei, in a letter to its suppliers released late Thursday, said that it "strictly complies with all applicable laws and regulations in our global business operations" and added it "is not aware of any wrongdoing" by Meng.

China Daily also accused Canada of mistreating Meng.

"Detaining a Chinese citizen during her change of flight without giving any concrete reason is severely violating her legitimate rights and interests," the editorial said.

'Show trial'

Canada treated her "as a dangerous criminal" and "violent offender" by restraining her with handcuffs and forcing her to wear ankle restraints following her initial bail hearing, the paper said.

"It is hard to escape the conclusion that her treatment is something of a show trial intended to humiliate her and China," it said.

China is regularly accused of violating the human rights of its own citizens who speak out against the government, advocate democracy or question the justice system.

The government has recently drawn widespread international condemnation for detentions of what the United Nations said may be up to one million members of mostly Muslim ethnic groups including Uighurs, who predominantly live in the resource-rich far western region of Xinjiang.

China insists it respects the "rule of law" and has called the mass incarcerations part of a "vocational education and training program" aimed at preventing terrorism.

Huawei Technologies, the world's biggest telecoms equipment provider, has faced suspicions in the United States and other countries over security concerns related to its equipment. Though Huawei is not a state-owned company, its founder Ren, who once served in the People's Liberation Army, is seen as having close ties with the government.

Huawei has consistently rejected such concerns, saying there is no proof its network equipment poses a threat.

The China Daily accused the U.S. of aiming to thwart Huawei's technology ambitions.

Huawei "has been looking to position itself at the forefront of the nascent 5G revolution that is beginning to take shape and the U.S. administration wants to reserve that spot for U.S. companies," the editorial said.