Anger mounts in China over ar­rest of Huawei ex­ec­u­tive amid US-China feud

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - World -

Chi­nese state-run me­dia on Fri­day con­demned the ar­rest in Canada of a top ex­ec­u­tive of tele­coms gi­ant Huawei on a US ex­tra­di­tion re­quest as a “de­spi­ca­ble rogue’s ap­proach” to con­tain Chi­nese high-tech am­bi­tions.

The ar­rest of Meng Wanzhou, CFO and daugh­ter of the com­pany’s founder, has an­gered the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and raised con­cerns that it could dis­rupt a trade war truce be­tween the world’s two big­gest economies.

Canada de­fended the ar­rest on Thurs­day, say­ing there was no po­lit­i­cal mo­ti­va­tion, and a se­nior ad­viser to US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump de­nied it was linked to US-China trade talks.

But Chi­nese me­dia cast the move as an as­sault on the de­vel­op­ment of the coun­try’s high-tech in­dus­try.

“The Chi­nese gov­ern­ment should se­ri­ously mull over the US ten­dency to abuse le­gal pro­ce­dures to sup­press China’s high-tech en­ter­prises,” the na­tion­al­ist tabloid Global Times said in an edi­to­rial.

“Ob­vi­ously, Wash­ing­ton is re­sort­ing to a de­spi­ca­ble rogue’s ap­proach as it can­not stop Huawei’s 5G ad­vance in the mar­ket,” it said.

The China Daily warned that “con­tain­ing Huawei’s ex­pan­sion is detri­men­tal to China-US ties”.

US au­thor­i­ties have not dis­closed the charges she faces fol­low­ing a pub­li­ca­tion ban sought by Meng, but “one thing that is un­doubt­edly true and proven, is the US is try­ing to do what­ever it can to con­tain Huawei’s ex­pan­sion in the world sim­ply be­cause the com­pany is the point man for Chi- na’s com­pet­i­tive tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies,” the daily said.

China has lodged diplo­matic protests over the ar­rest and has re­peat­edly asked the US and Canada to clar­ify the rea­sons for it.

“In the past seven days, be it Canada or the US, nei­ther has pro­vided any ev­i­dence of the in­volved party break­ing the law in ei­ther coun­try,” Chi­nese for­eign min­istry spokesper­son Geng Shuang said.

Meng’s ar­rest fol­lows a US probe into the com­pany’s al- leged vi­o­la­tions of Iran sanc­tions.

Though China’s tech­nol­ogy sec­tor is still re­liant on cer­tain US ex­ports like mi­crochips, Bei­jing wants to trans­form the coun­try into a global tech leader in a plan dubbed “Made in China 2025”.

Huawei is one of the world’s largest telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions equip­ment and ser­vices providers.

But its US busi­ness has been tightly con­strained by wor­ries it could un­der­mine Amer­i­can com­peti­tors and that its cell­phones and net­work­ing equip­ment, used widely in other coun­tries, could pro­vide Bei­jing with av­enues for es­pi­onage.

Aus­tralia, New Zealand and Bri­tain have fol­lowed suit in 2018 by re­ject­ing some of the com­pany’s ser­vices over se­cu­rity con­cerns.

Ja­pan also plans to ban gov­ern­ment use of tele­com prod­ucts made by Huawei and Chi­nese tech firm ZTE.

Ear­lier in 2018, ZTE al­most col­lapsed af­ter Wash­ing­ton banned US com­pa­nies from sell­ing cru­cial hard­ware and soft­ware com­po­nents to it for seven years, though the ban was lifted af­ter it agreed to pay a $1bn (about R14bn) fine.

Some an­a­lysts say Meng’s ar­rest could be used as a bar­gain­ing chip, but White House trade ad­viser Peter Navarro de­nied it was linked to the USChina trade ne­go­ti­a­tions.

But CNN, quot­ing an un­named of­fi­cial, said that the US saw the ar­rest as pro­vid­ing lever­age in trade talks.

Cana­dian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also de­nied “any po­lit­i­cal in­volve­ment or in­ter­fer­ence” in Meng’s ar­rest. –

Aus­tralia, New Zealand and Bri­tain have fol­lowed suit this year by re­ject­ing some of the com­pany’s ser­vices over se­cu­rity con­cerns

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