China Demands Release of Telecom Executive Arrested in Canada

China Demands Release of Telecom Executive Arrested in Canada

The main index in Hong Kong fell about 2.5% and Tokyo stocks closed down 1.9% on Thursday after Canada said Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, had been arrested in Vancouver and is being sought for extradition by the U.S. government.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang reiterated Beijing wanted the United States and Canada "to clarify the grounds for the detention, to release the detainee and earnestly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the person involved", Bloomberg reported.

Thus far, China has demanded that Canada and the US drop the case and release Meng immediately, accusing the North American nations of harming her human rights.

Meng Wanzhou is scheduled to appear in court on Friday for a bail hearing.

"At the request of the US side, the Canadian side arrested a Chinese citizen not violating any American or Canadian law", the Chinese Embassy in Canada said on Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal reported this year US authorities are investigating whether Huawei violated sanctions on Iran.

Ye Tan, an independent Chinese economist, said Meng's arrest could be used as a "bargaining chip" in the trade talks.

Confirming that China has lodged stern representations the United States and Canada, Geng demanded that Canada "immediately clarify the reasons for this detention, immediately release the detainee, and effectively protect the legitimate rights of the detainee".

Chinese media have lashed out at the U.S. over the arrest of senior Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, accusing the country of using "hooliganism" to suppress the Chinese telecom giant at the centre of what is turning into a major diplomatic incident.

An InterDigital spokesman on Thursday confirmed the accuracy of that report, and said China ended its investigation of the firm in 2014.

The U.S. almost put another large Chinese firm, ZTE, out of business earlier this year when it banned the company from using U.S. technology.

"This is a reminder that we need to take seriously the risks of doing business with companies like Huawei and allowing them access to our markets", said Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee. "The Chinese government should seriously mull over the USA tendency to abuse legal procedures to suppress China's high-tech enterprises".

"This is something that we get from the Justice Department", he said.

US national security adviser John Bolton told USA media that he knew of the pending arrest in advance.

The statement said that Meng has been "temporarily detained" when she was "transferring flights in Canada" and that Meng faces "unspecified charges in the Eastern District of NY".

According to U.S. officials, however, the arrest of Meng had been planned for some time, and was something of an open secret in the Trump administration.

Huawei said in a statement that it had been provided with little information "about the charges" against Meng, who is also one of the vice chairs of its board and the daughter of founder Ren Zhengfei from his first marriage.

But news of Ms Meng's detention spooked sentiment on Thursday - leaving European and U.S. markets on course for steep falls at the open.

The arrest follows a U.S. The escalating trade war is threatening world economic growth and has set global investors on edge.

The arrest took place on the same day Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss the trade war after the close of the G-20 summit in Argentina.

In 2013, as China was investigating the USA patent licensing firm InterDigital Inc. for possible violations of anti-monopoly law, authorities said they wanted to meet with InterDigital chief executive William Merritt, Reuters reported at the time. Mr Trump was slated to raise additional tariffs on $200bn of Chinese goods from 10 per cent to 25 per cent on 1 January.

"The Chinese will absolutely interpret it as being directly connected", said Dean Cheng, a Heritage Foundation senior research fellow on Chinese political and security affairs.

Despite Meng's arrest the same day that deal was announced, Beijing officials were standing by the agreement on Thursday. "The idea that no one here, not even the prime minister, can call up a judge and tell them what to do".

Mulroney said Canada should be prepared for "sustained fury" from the Chinese and said it will be portrayed in China as Canada kowtowing to Trump.

Huawei recently surpassed Apple to become the world's second-biggest smartphone-maker behind only Samsung. Later, other sources claimed that the arrest had been made to investigate whether Huawei violated U.S. sanctions on Iran or not.

David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said United States and Canadian business executives could face reprisals in China.

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