© Reuters. Meng Wanzhou, Chief Financial Officer of Huawei Technologies, leaves the court and concludes a hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sept. 24, 2021. REUTERS / Jennifer Gauthier
By David Kirton and David Stanway
SHENZHEN, China / TORONTO (Reuters) – Meng Wanzhou, Huawei's chief financial officer, arrived in China on Saturday and ended their nearly three-year U.S. extradition war on the path to better relations between China and the two Western allies.
Meng https://www.reuters.com/business/huawei-heir-apparent-prepares-life-after-three-years-canada-court-battle-2021-09-24, the daughter of the founder of Huawei Technologies, Ren Zhengfei, was allowed to go home after reaching an agreement with the US Attorney's Office on Friday to end bank fraud proceedings against her.
The extradition drama was a key source of discord between Beijing and Washington, with Chinese officials signaling that the case had to be closed to end a diplomatic standoff.
Two Canadians arrested by Chinese authorities just days after Meng's arrest – Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor – were hugged on the tarmac by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after landing in Calgary.
"They have shown incredible strength, resilience and endurance," Trudeau said in a Twitter (NYSE 🙂 post with photos of him greeting her at home. "You know Canadians across the country continue to be there for you as they were."
In the south Chinese city of Shenzhen, Meng wore a patriotic red dress when she got off a plane to be greeted by well-wishers.
"I'm finally back home," Meng was quoted as saying by the Global Times tabloid, which is supported by the ruling Communist Party. "Waiting in a foreign land was full of suffering. I was speechless when my feet hit Chinese ground."
Chinese state media welcomed Meng back but remained silent about Kovrig and Spavor, who were released hours after Meng on Friday.
Huawei said in a statement that it looks forward to Ms. Meng returning home safely to be reunited with her family. It said it would continue to defend itself against US allegations.
The deal opened US President Joe Biden to criticism from Washington’s China hawks, who argue that his government is capitulating to China and one of its top companies at the center of a global technology rivalry between the two countries.
Several Republican senators immediately condemned Meng's release and urged the White House to consult the US Congress on the matter.
"Ms. Meng's release raises serious questions about President Biden's ability and willingness to face the threat posed by Huawei and the Chinese Communist Party," Marco Rubio said in a text message to Reuters.
Senator Jim Risch said in a statement that the deal was "a victory for one of the most brutal and cruel regimes in the world" and encouraged the Communist Party to "use other foreign citizens as bargaining chips because they now know that hostage-taking is successful" . Way to get what it wants. "
Some Chinese commentators saw it differently.
"By agreeing to allow Meng to return to China, the Biden administration is signaling that it hopes to clean up the chaos left by the former Trump administration," said Wu Xinbo, dean of the Institute for International Studies at Fudan -University.
& # 39; SWEEPER WITH TEARS & # 39;
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV carried a statement by Meng written while their plane was flying over the North Pole, avoiding US airspace. Meng said her eyes "blurred with tears" as she neared "the embrace of the great motherland."
Meng was arrested in Vancouver in December 2018 after a New York court issued an arrest warrant alleging she tried to cover up attempts by Huawei-affiliates to sell devices to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions.
Acting US attorney Nicole Boeckmann said Meng had "taken responsibility for her lead role in maintaining a fraud plan for a global financial institution."
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the charges against her were "fabricated" to suppress the country's high-tech industries.
At the airport in Shenzhen, Meng's hometown, a crowd of well-wishers chanted patriotic slogans and held up red banners to welcome their return.
"The fact that Meng Wanzhou can be found not guilty and released is a great victory in politics and diplomacy for the people of China," said Liu Dan, who was among the people.
The state-run Xinhua News Agency attributed Meng's release to "the relentless efforts of the Chinese government."
Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times, wrote on Twitter that "international relations have fallen into chaos" as a result of Meng's "painful three years."
He added, "Arbitrary detention of Chinese people is not allowed."
Neither Hu nor other local media outlets made mention of Spavor and Kovrig's release, however, and reactions on China's Twitter-like Weibo (NASDAQ 🙂 social media platform have been few and far between.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry has not commented publicly on this.
China previously denied "hostage diplomacy," insisting that the Canadians' arrest and detention were in no way tied to the Meng trial.
Spavor was accused of providing photos of military equipment to Kovrig and was sentenced to 11 years in prison in August. Kovrig was still waiting to be sentenced.