Huawei CFO is suing Canada for unlawful conduct during arrest​​​​​​​

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is suing Canadian authorities for alleged unlawful conduct following her arrest in the country last December.

According to Meng’s lawyers, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) delayed executing her arrest warrant in a bid to extract added evidence from her before she was arrested.

Her lawyers further alleged the officers breached Meng’s right to privacy during the luggage search. The lawsuit claims border officials “knew or were recklessly indifferent to the fact that they had no authority to conduct such a search, which search was performed under the false pretense of a routine customs or immigration-related examination.”

Border officials acted on a warrant issued by the US. The warrant claims Meng flouted US sanctions against Iran by pretending a Huawei subsidiary was not part of the company. Meng was charged with bank and wire fraud.

As a representative of one of China’s largest companies, the Chinese state has not been silent on the matter. Relations have been soured between Canada and China over the case, with the latter calling for Meng’s immediate release.

The case is particularly high profile as Meng is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei. Much of the national security concerns about Huawei arise from Ren’s former position as a high-ranking general in the People’s Liberation Army.

Sour Relations

The US has taken a hardline stance against the use of Chinese technology in its critical infrastructure for many years. However, with 5G networks rolling out, the US has increased pressure on its allies not to use equipment from the likes of Huawei.

Much of this pressure has been focused on its ‘Five Eyes’ surveillance partners which also includes the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

Australia was quick to implement a ban. Canada and the UK are seeking to continue strict oversight of all Chinese equipment by their national security agencies prior to use in their infrastructure. New Zealand is still formulating its position.

Huawei took an unusual step this week of appealing to Americans directly by taking out a full-page advert in the Wall Street Journal which said: ‘Don’t believe everything you hear’.

In an open letter to the US media, Huawei executive Catherine Chen wrote:

“The US is a shining example of how to inspire passion for technological innovation and development. We too have been inspired by your history of creativity and hard work.

I am writing to you in the hopes that we can come to understand each other better. In recent years, the US government has developed some misunderstandings about us. We would like to draw your attention to the facts.

We operate in more than 170 countries and regions, including countries like the UK, Germany, and France. We provide innovative and secure telecoms network equipment and smartphones to more than three billion people around the world.

There are only so many people we can reach out to. On behalf of Huawei, I would like to invite members of the US media to visit our campuses and meet our employees. I hope that you can take what you see and hear back to your readers, viewers, and listeners, and share this message with them, to let them know that our doors are always open. We would like the US public to get to know us better, as we will you.”

As UK-based media, Telecoms is not part of this latest invite but has toured Huawei’s Chinese facilities in the past. While it was a strictly guided tour conducted a few years ago, the visit found no glaring cause for concern. However, in recent interviews, Huawei has strictly forbidden any video or audio recordings.

Some experts believe the arrest of Meng is part of a wider anti-China campaign from the US which continues to be embroiled in a ‘trade war’ over its practices. The advert, it appears, is designed to reinforce that view.

(Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash)

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