Meng Wanzhou’s admission of wrongdoing not noted in major Chinese outlets

The Huawei exec's agreement with U.S. prosecutors means she'll avoid criminal conviction

The homepage of two of the Chinese government’s most prominent English-language media outlets are not telling readers major details about a story that’s leading the news in Canada.

On Friday, an extradition hearing in B.C. Supreme Court was halted against Huawei senior executive Meng Wanzhou after she reached a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Justice Department in a Brooklyn courtroom.

Under the deal, Meng was able to return to China and avoid admitting guilt on major charges in exchange for acknowledging that she mislead a financial institution and put it at risk of breaking U.S. sanctions against Iran.

She arrived at Shenzhen airport on Saturday morning to a hero’s welcome after spending three years under house arrest in Vancouver.

Hours after news of the deal broke, the Chinese government released Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were jailed shortly after Meng’s initial arrest in 2018. The pair arrived at Calgary International Airport on Saturday morning.

Last month, a Chinese judge sentenced Spavor to 11 years in jail after he was convicted of espionage.

As of this writing, China’s state-owned Xinhua News Agency and China Daily, which is owned by the Chinese Communist Party State Council Information Office, had not included a key detail in news reports: that Meng admitted to misleading a global financial over the nature of Huawei’s relationship with a company called Skycom.

Press outlets have identified the financial instituation in question as HSBC.

Meng’s agreement with U.S. prosecutors means that she won’t have a criminal conviction. If she complies with the conditions laid out by the court, the charges will eventually be dropped.

However, American authorities are continuing to pursue criminal charges against Huawei and her admissions could be used in a future case.

“Her admissions in the statement of facts confirm that, while acting as the Chief Financial Officer for Huawei, Meng made multiple material misrepresentations to a senior executive of a financial institution regarding Huawei’s business operations in Iran in an effort to preserve Huawei’s banking relationship with the financial institution,” acting U.S. Attorney Nicole Boeckmann said in the news release. 

“The truth about Huawei’s business in Iran, which Meng concealed, would have been important to the financial institution’s decision to continue its banking relationship with Huawei. 

“Meng’s admissions confirm the crux of the government’s allegations in the prosecution of this financial fraud – that Meng and her fellow Huawei employees engaged in a concerted effort to deceive global financial institutions, the U.S. government and the public about Huawei’s activities in Iran,” Boeckmann added.

Following her initial arrest in December 2018, Meng was released on $10 million bail. Canadian authorities had detained her in Vancouver following an extradition request from the Trump administration.

Her arrest is viewed as a part of a Cold War-like competition between the U.S. and China for global dominance in the tech sector. The case has severely strained relations between Canada and China.

This story originally appeared in the Georgia Straight. With files from NOW staff


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One response to “Meng Wanzhou’s admission of wrongdoing not noted in major Chinese outlets”

  1. This whole multi-year ordeal has made it more clear (at least to me) that before China might be successfully compelled to do anything it doesn’t wish to, the compelling source must at least possess a consumer base thus trade import/export bargaining chip compatible with that of China, with its nearly 1.5 billion consumers. Military threats from abroad likely wouldn’t intimidate Chinese officials; if anything, foreign sabre rattling would just make China more obstinate. The only other thing that might have an effect on them is the economic via the international market place. Unfortunately we, Canada, miserably fail as either a military or consumer-base challenge to China, regardless of which party governs us.

    Perhaps some securely allied nations combining their resources could go without the usual China trade/investment tether they’d prefer to sever, instead trading necessary goods and services between themselves and other interested non-allied, non-China-bound nation economies? Maybe such an alliance has already been covertly discussed but rejected due to Chinese government strategists knowing how to ‘divide and conquer’ potential alliance nations by using door-wedge economic/political leverage custom-made for each nation?

    Or could it be that every country typically placing its own economic and big business bottom-line interests foremost may always be its, and therefore collectively our, Achilles’ Heel to be exploited by huge-market nations like China? As much as I hate the fact, so far China seems to know how to handle the West.

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