Daily Management Review

China starts taking revenge for Meng Wanzhou arrest


Beijing has fulfilled the threat of responding to arrest of the Chief Financial Officer of Huawei. Chinese authorities have detained a former Canadian diplomat, who is now involved in politics.

Fuzzy Gerdes
Fuzzy Gerdes
The arrest of Chief Financial Officer of Huawei Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of the founder and owner of the company, turned into a loud diplomatic scandal. Firstly, Huawei is the world leader in the telecommunications sector, and secondly, China is not going to give up. Patriotism in China is in no way inferior to the famous American patriotism.

The situation is unfolding against the background of a truce in the trade war between the United States and China and tresumption of negotiations. Beijing agreed to make concessions. However, the truce agreement was concluded in Buenos Aires even before the arrest of Meng.

Obviously, China was terribly outraged with the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, which, if extradited to the United States, could face up to 30 years in prison. Beijing threatened Ottawa with retaliatory measures. In response, the Eastern country detained on Tuesday the former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig. He now works at the Analytical Center of the International Crisis Group (ICG), which is headquartered in Brussels.

The reason for the detention has not been officially announced yet. One can only guess about it from today's statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC. It says that if Michael Kovrig was engaged in work related to the ICG in China without the necessary registration he could well violate the Chinese law on the activities of international non-governmental organizations.

Michael Kovrig speaks fluent Chinese. He has worked at the ICG since February 2017. In 2003-16 Kovrig worked at the Foreign Ministry of Canada and repeatedly visited Beijing and Hong Kong. In 2016, for example, he traveled with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Hong Kong as political assistant. Trudeau has now told reporters that he knows about the arrest of Michael Kovrig and that the government of Canada takes this event very seriously.

This situation is not the first incident in Sino-Canadian relations. In 2014, a Chinese was arrested in Canada on charges of stealing military secrets. In response, Beijing arrested a Canadian married couple who owned a cafe near the border with North Korea.

News of the arrest of Kovrig came a few hours before the start of the third, decisive day of the court session in Vancouver, at which the request of Meng Wanzhou’s attorneys were to release her on bail due to her health condition. Obviously, Ottawa understood the hint. The court decided to issue Meng on bail of 10 million Canadian dollars (7.5 million US dollars). She is now awaiting a decision of the Canadian court at the request of the US State Department to extradite her to America. The next trial is scheduled for February 6, 2019.

This story makes in a slightly different light look at behavior of the Eastern country. It seems now West and East has become equal. Currently, it is difficult to believe in assurances of the White House officials that President Trump did not know anything about impending arrest of Meng Wanzhou during a working lunch with Xi Jinping, at which the truce was concluded. Just as in Trump’s version that the Saudi crown prince knew nothing about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Donald Trump recently told Reuters that, if necessary, he would intervene in the Wanzhou case, if his intervention helped protect US national interests or prompted negotiations between US and Chinese delegations on trade issues.

The US claims that Meng allegedly provided banks with incorrect information about the relationship between Huawei and Hong Kong company Skycom Tech, which had business with Iran. By the way, the Canadian Foreign Ministry has not yet received a formal request for the extradition of Meng to the US from the State Department. If the paper does not arrives within 60 days, the woman will be released.

source: reuters.com, cnbc.com