Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei, safely returned to China on 25 September after reaching a deferred prosecution agreement with US prosecutors for violating U.S. sanctions. Her return captured attention across China, with 430 million people watching the livestream on CCTV’s (China Central Television) social media channels alone.
Meng Wanzhou was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 as the United States accused Meng Wanzhou of concealing Huawei’s Hong Kong subsidiary, Skycom’s, business dealings with Iran and violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. The U.S. also claimed that the act was suspected of defrauding HSBC.
The United States, therefore, sought to extradite Meng Wanzhou for trial. Since being arrested at Vancouver Airport in 2018, Meng Wanzhou had been stranded in Canada and waiting in the process of an extradition hearing between the United States and Canada for three years. She had always insisted on her innocence throughout all the legal proceedings.
Chinese netizens were highly concerned about Meng’s extradition case, as Meng’s future was in limbo whilst being overseas alone. They expressed their respect for this businesswoman, for not using her business resources to get her freedom back and not submitting to the political persecution.
After 1028 days of detention, China welcomed her home as a heroine, with a celebration for her and the country’s perseverance in this international incident. Moreover, this was also a celebration of Beijing’s relentless efforts, which ensured the safety of its nationals away from and on the way home. It is apt that the Chinese translation of “a country” is “国家” – which means ‘the home of a nation’; people trust the government for its ability to make the nation the backbone for every citizen.
At the same time, Chinese media condemned Meng’s case as a political game disguised as a judicial matter, where Canada was “acting as an accomplice in the political plot” designed by Washington. According to Chinese scholars, the political persecution is caused by conflicts between the US political parties and Biden’s foreign policy as it relates to China.
Shenyi, professor at Fudan University, commented that Meng’s return was of significant importance in recent China-US relations – with cautious optimism, the relationship is likely to see a turning point. However, Shen also said that “the strategic game between the two powers will be long-lasting, so will the technologies competition between them. To keep forging ahead, China needs to maintain its willpower and patience.”