- David Becker/Getty Image
- China is demanding the release of Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou, who was detained in Canada at the request of US authorities.
- China says that Meng had been arrested without explanation and that could be a “violation of her human rights.”
- But Canadian law dictates that people are told why they have been arrested or detained, and Canada says it cannot offer details publicly because of a publication ban requested by Meng herself.
- Canada has not publicly said why Meng has been arrested, but reports say that she was arrested on suspicion of violating the US’s trade sanctions on Iran
- The arrest comes amid a trade war between the US and China and has sent global stocks plunging.
China demanded Canada release the Huawei executive arrested at the request of US authorities, saying she was arrested without an explanation of the charge which could violate her human rights.
Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Vancouver by the Canadian Justice Department on Sunday.
US officials want Canada to extradite her, agency representative Ian McLeod said in an email to Business Insider.
The Globe And Mail and South China Morning Post reported that Meng was arrested on suspicion of violating the US’s trade sanctions on Iran. But Huawei spokesman Chase Skinner said in a statement that Huawei is unclear on why she was detained.
But Canadian law dictates that people who have been arrested or detained are given a reason. McLeod told Business Insider that Canada could not provide more details about the arrest as there “is a publication ban in effect” that was “sought by Ms. Meng.”
US authorities have been probing Huawei since at least 2016 for allegedly shipping US-origin products to Iran and other countries in violation of US export and sanctions laws, sources told Reuters in April.
The Chinese government said on Thursday that Meng had not broken any US or Canadian laws and demanded Canada “immediately correct the mistake” and release her.
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said that Beijing asked Washington and Ottawa to “immediately release the detained person” and to explain the reason for her arrest, saying that arresting Meng without an explanation of the charge was a violation of her human rights, the Associated Press reported.
Skinner said on Wednesday that Huawei “has been provided very little information regarding the charges and is not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng.”
“The company believes the Canadian and US legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion.”
Canadian authorities “provisionally detained” Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, while she was transferring flights in the country, Skinner said.
The Chinese embassy in Canada also issued strong warnings about the arrest.
“The Chinese side firmly opposes and strongly protests over such kind of actions which seriously harmed the human rights of the victim,” it said in a statement.
“We will closely follow the development of the issue and take all measures to resolutely protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens.”
Fu Liang, a Beijing-based independent telecom analyst, said that Canada arresting Meng on behalf of the US is “weird.”
Huawei is one of China’s most prominent technology companies and is the world’s second-biggest smartphone manufacturer.
But its devices have come under scrutiny in the US and elsewhere over spying fears. The head of the UK’s MI6 said this week that Huawei could pose a threat to British security and New Zealand has blocked its top telecom firm from using Huawei equipment for its 5G mobile network, citing “significant national security risks.”
Meng’s arrest also comes as the US and China try to smooth tensions in an effort to prevent a mounting trade war.
Global stocks plunged on Thursday as the arrest escalates an already fraught trade relationship between the two countries.