Meng Wanzhou says support from Huawei employees ‘beautiful as a spring breeze’
|Toronto Star 13 May 2019 at 17:53|
VANCOUVER—A missive from Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was shared from the company’s official WeChat account on Monday, praising employees for their support during her legal battle to avoid extradition.
The emotional letter is Meng’s first public statement since a brief post on the social-media platform on Dec. 12, following her release on bail. She says she is touched by an outpouring of support from employees of the company, which her father founded in 1987.
Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou is escorted by security from her home on May 8, 2019 in Vancouver. Meng penned a letter, released Monday, thanking Huawei workers for their support during her fight to avoid being sent to the U.S. to face criminal charges. (Jeff Vinnick / Getty Images)
An effusive thank you letter to Huawei’s employees written by CFO Meng Wanzhou and posted Monday to Huawei’s WeChat account. (Original from Huawei’s WeChat account / English translation by Star Vancouver)
“During this time in Vancouver, although my activities have been limited, the colour and the world of my heart have been unprecedentedly rich and broad,” she wrote in Chinese.
“And I have never had the opportunity to be so closely connected with 188,000 Huawei people. Everything has a beautiful side. This close and warm connection is as beautiful as a spring breeze.”
She also thanked supporters for sending messages and for queuing up early to attend hearings at the B.C. Supreme Court.
In a move analysts have framed as politically motivated retaliation, Beijing detained a pair of Canadians: diplomat-on-leave Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor.
While Meng was released on bail to her multimillion-dollar home in Dunbar 10 days after her arrest, Kovrig and Spavor have been in detention in undisclosed locations in China since their respective arrests, both on Dec. 10. While Global Affairs Canada has reported being given consular access to both men, roughly once a month, neither man has yet had access to a lawyer.
In March, Meng launched a civil suit against the Canadian government and law enforcement, alleging her Charter rights were breached during the course of her arrest — a move legal analysts said is aimed at scuttling extradition proceedings.
Last week, Meng’s bail conditions were amended to allow her to move from her Dunbar residence into her family’s gated home in Vancouver’s Shaughnessy neighbourhood. Meng may travel freely so long as she stays in or near Vancouver and away from the airport. She must still wear a GPS ankle bracelet and is subject to an 11 p.m. curfew and 24-hour-a-day, in-person security monitoring.
Another pair of Canadians, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg and a man identified as Fan Wei, have been sentenced to death on drug offences in separate cases in Chinese courts. Experts have characterized Schellenberg’s sentence as “death-threat diplomacy” aimed at pressuring the Canadian government into releasing Meng.
An effusive thank you letter to Huawei s employees written by CFO Meng Wanzhou and posted Monday to Huawei s WeChat account. (Original from Huawei s WeChat account / English translation by Star Vancouver)
Beijing has also moved to block Canadian shipments of key goods, canola and pork , further exacerbating diplomatic tensions.
Meng’s letter was released publicly Monday but was originally dated May 9, a day after she for a scheduling hearing. During the hearing, a tentative start to her extradition showdown was slated for January, while her next court appearance was scheduled for Sept. 23.
Canada’s federal government, meanwhile, is in the midst of a security review of the risks associated with Huawei’s 5G technology. Experts have raised concerns over the possibility that incorporating the company’s equipment into Canadian 5G infrastructure would allow Beijing to spy on Canada or influence its decisions by threatening its internet-enabled infrastructure. Huawei has denied being controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.
A rare, exclusive March interview given by Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei to Canadian media was part of a company “charm offensive,” a public-relations expert told The Star Vancouver at the time.
During the interview, Ren suggested his company and Canada were both “victims” subject to forces beyond their control.
Reflecting on his relationship with his daughter, Ren noted that Meng had been considering a resignation from her position at Huawei in the month leading up to her arrest and that she was not under consideration to be his successor as director and CEO of the company.