Huawei in hot water at home for hypocrisy - SupChina
Free

We're a new type of news publication

China news you won't read elsewhere.

Weekly Newsletter

Get a roundup of the most important and interesting stories coming out of China.

Podcasts

Sinica, TechBuzz China, and our 6 other shows are the undisputed champs of China podcasts. Listen now.

Feature Articles

Interactive, web-based deep dives into the real China.

Premium

Join the thousands of executives, diplomats, and journalists that rely on SupChina for daily analysis of the full China story.

Daily Newsletter

All the news, every day. Premium analysis directly from our Editor-in-Chief Jeremy Goldkorn.

24/7 Slack Community

Have China-related questions and want answers? Our Slack community is a place to learn, network, and opine.

Free Live Events & More

Monthly live conference calls with leading experts, free entry to SupChina live events in cities around the world, and more.

"A jewel in the crown of China reporting. I go to it, look for it daily. Why? It adds so much insight into the real China. Essential news, culture, color. I find SupChina superior."
— Max Baucus, former U.S. Ambassador to China

Free

We're a new type of news publication

China news you won't read elsewhere.

Weekly Newsletter

Get a roundup of the most important and interesting stories coming out of China.

Podcasts

Sinica, TechBuzz China, and our 6 other shows are the undisputed champs of China podcasts. Listen now.

Feature Articles

Interactive, web-based deep dives into the real China.

OR… for more in-depth analysis and an online community of China-focused professionals:

Learn About Premium Access Now!
Learn More
Minimize
Learn More
Minimize

Huawei in hot water at home for hypocrisy

985, 996, 251, 404. Just random numbers? Not quite. They’re what internet users posted — before they were deleted — in the comment section of an open letter penned by Huawei CFO Mèng Wǎnzhōu 孟晚舟.

The New York Times’s Li Yuan explains:

On the first anniversary of her arrest in Canada, Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecom giant Huawei, issued an open letter describing how she experienced fear, pain, disappointment, helplessness, torment and acceptance of the unknown.

She wrote at length about the support she received from her colleagues, about friendly people at a courthouse in Vancouver and about “numerous” Chinese online users who expressed their trust.

Her letter, posted on Monday, was not well received on the Chinese internet, where Ms. Meng is known — in a term meant to be endearing — as “princess” because she is a daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei.

On the Twitter-like social media platform Weibo, many users posted the numbers 985, 996, 251 and 404 in the comment section below her letter. They were slyly referring to a former Huawei employee who graduated from one of the country’s top universities in a program code-named 985, worked from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week and was jailed for 251 days after he demanded severance pay when his contract wasn’t renewed.

That employee is Lǐ Hóngyuán 李洪元, a 13-year Huawei veteran who was detained for eight months, from January to August, under charges of extortion after he requested termination compensation from Huawei.

The company had apparently pressed charges. Li was eventually released due to “unclear criminal facts and insufficient evidence.”

The episode sparked outrage among Chinese internet users, who were quick to point out the hypocrisy of detaining a long-term employee while issuing ongoing calls for the release of its CFO (and founder’s daughter), who remains under house arrest in Canada. The Guardian notes that such criticism is rare for Huawei given its status as “one of the most popular brands within the country and a symbol of national pride.”

Hong Kong was part of the online discussion. Some popular comments about the scandal, translated by Tony Lin on Twitter:

Share
Alex Smith

Alex Smith is a writer and researcher from Aotearoa, New Zealand. She has a Master of Arts in East Asian Regional Studies from Columbia University. Prior to moving to New York, she worked as an analyst at the New Zealand Treasury, where she focused on justice sector policy and the annual budget.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.