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China takes revenge on Canada

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As Huawei CFO and scion Mèng Wǎnzhōu 孟晚舟 adjusts to a life of limited freedom in Vancouver, this video from nationalistic rag Global Times promises that “China will take revenge if Canada does not restore Meng’s freedom.” The revenge has been going on for several days now. Reuters reports:

Canadian businessman Michael Spavor, who worked with North Korea, is being investigated on suspicion of harming China’s security, China said on Thursday, days after a former Canadian diplomat was detained in an escalating diplomatic row.

The state security bureau in the northeastern Chinese city of Dandong, which borders North Korea, has been investigating Spavor since December 10, an official news site for the Liaoning province government said [in Chinese].

  • There are profiles of Spavor, who was behind Dennis Rodman’s trips to North Korea, in the South China Morning Post and Macleans.
  • China’s Foreign Ministry “confirmed Thursday that the two Canadians were ­detained Monday, Kovrig in Beijing and Spavor in Dandong, on the Chinese border with North Korea,” writes Anna Fifield in the Washington Post. A spokesperson said, “I can tell you that their legitimate rights and interests have been safeguarded,” but gave no details.
  • “Suspicion of engaging in activities that endanger national security” is the Ministry’s reason for detention. This is a serious charge. In addition, Fifield points out:

China could hold Michael Kovrig, an analyst with the International Crisis Group think tank, and Michael Spavor, who runs tours and promotes investment in North Korea, in “black jails” for as long as six months without allowing them access to lawyers or their families.

Was Meng’s arrest legitimate?

  • “The detention of Huawei’s CFO is legally justified. Why doesn’t the U.S. say so?” is the title of an essay by law professor Julian Ku.
  • China watcher Patrick Chovanec on Twitter: “Concerns over Huawei have been growing for years — over multiple Administrations — and are widely shared by our allies… All the more reason why Huawei should not be used as some bargaining chip in a trade ‘deal.’” Click through to read about “the legitimate and illegitimate bases for a negotiated ‘deal’”.
  • Journalist Christian Shepherd translated a tweet from respected Chinese commentator Dèng Yùwén 邓聿文 “saying that China wants the Meng case to be politicized, which is why it has detained two Canadians; that way there can be a political solution (rather than a legal one). He also suggests that Trump’s thinking is [similar].”
  • In Canada, journalist Katie Simpson tweeted: “PM Trudeau was asked this morning about Trump’s comments, where he said he would intervene in the Huawei case if it would better his interests. Trudeau said “regardless of what goes on in other countries, Canada is and will always remain a country of the rule of law.””
  • “The timing of the arrest coinciding with the G20 Xi-Trump dinner was a matter of happenstance, not a conspiracy to blow up the talks. The arrest warrant has been out since August 22nd.” That’s the view of Lawrence B. Lindsey, former Governor of the Federal Reserve.

More on Huawei

  • “Huawei’s relations with British authorities hit a low last month when a top official walked out of a meeting with the Chinese company over its perceived failure to fix security holes in its products,” reports Reuters.
  • Japanese mobile carrier SoftBank “has decided to replace the Huawei Technologies equipment in its 4G telecommunications network infrastructure with hardware made by Ericsson and Nokia,” according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
  • The Japanese government has issued a directive aimed at keeping Huawei and ZTE out of 14 sectors, including power and railways, says the Nikkei Asian Review.
  • “‘Bloodthirsty’ like a wolf: Inside the military-style discipline at China’s tech titan Huawei” is the title of Washington Post story on the company culture.
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Jeremy Goldkorn

Jeremy Goldkorn worked in China for 20 years as an editor and entrepreneur. He is editor-in-chief of SupChina, and co-founder of the Sinica Podcast.

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