Stop ‘un­rea­son­able bash­ing,’ China tells US

Bei­jing says pol­i­tics be­hind crack­down on its com­pa­nies

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - Thomas Maresca

Bei­jing fired back Tues­day over crim­i­nal charges against Chi­nese tele­com gi­ant Huawei, call­ing them po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated and urg­ing the United States to stop the “un­rea­son­able bash­ing” of Chi­nese com­pa­nies.

The U.S. De­part­ment of Jus­tice an­nounced charges against Huawei and its chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer, Meng Wanzhou, on Mon­day, al­leg­ing that the com­pany stole trade se­crets, vi­o­lated trade sanc­tions against Iran, com­mit­ted wire fraud and ob­structed jus­tice.

“For some time, the U.S. has been us- ing na­tional power to tar­nish and crack down on spe­cific Chi­nese com­pa­nies in an at­tempt to stran­gle their law­ful and le­git­i­mate op­er­a­tions,” Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a state­ment Tues­day. “Be­hind such prac­tices are deep po­lit­i­cal in­ten­tions and ma­nip­u­la­tions. We strongly urge the U.S. to stop its un­rea­son­able bash­ing on Chi­nese com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing Huawei, and treat them ob­jec­tively and fairly.”

Geng called on the United States “to im­me­di­ately with­draw its ar­rest war­rant for Ms. Meng Wanzhou, re­frain from mak­ing a for­mal ex­tra­di­tion re- quest and stop go­ing fur­ther down the wrong path.”

Meng was ar­rested Dec. 1 in Van­cou­ver by Cana­dian au­thor­i­ties at the re­quest of the United States and is out on $7.6 mil­lion bail while await­ing ex­tra­di­tion.

Mon­day evening, Canada’s Jus­tice De­part­ment con­firmed that of­fi­cials re­ceived a for­mal ex­tra­di­tion re­quest from the United States, Cana­dian broad­caster CBC re­ported.

Huawei de­nied any wrong­do­ing in a state­ment Tues­day, say­ing it was “dis­ap­pointed to learn of the charges brought against the com­pany.”

Huawei “de­nies that it or its sub­sid- iary or af­fil­i­ate have com­mit­ted any of the as­serted vi­o­la­tions,” the state­ment said. The com­pany “is not aware of any wrong­do­ing of Ms. Meng and be­lieves the U.S. courts will ul­ti­mately reach the same con­clu­sion.”

The crim­i­nal charges came be­fore high-level trade talks be­tween China and the United States, the world’s two largest economies. The United States will in­crease tar­iffs on $200 bil­lion of Chi­nese im­ports from 10 per­cent to 25 per­cent if a deal is not struck by a dead­line of March 2.

Talks are set to be held in Wash­ing­ton this week. The leader of the Chi­nese del­e­ga­tion, Vice Premier Liu He, will meet with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

Mon­day, White House spokes­woman Sarah San­ders said the Huawei charges and the trade talks were un­re­lated.

“The U.S. has been us­ing na­tional power to tar­nish and crack down on spe­cific Chi­nese com­pa­nies in an at­tempt to stran­gle their law­ful and le­git­i­mate op­er­a­tions.”

Geng Shuang Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry spokesman

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