At long last, a major target of the US government’s legal assault on Huawei, China’s telecoms giant, is being released from responsibility. After years of drama, the company’s CFO has finally been extradited from Canada to face fraud accusations related to the violation of financial penalties in his southern neighbour.
Despite American trade prohibitions against Iran, Huawei CFO Meng was detained in Canada in 2018 on a US warrant after allegations surfaced that she deceived creditors in order to expand the company’s operations there. Shortly after, China arrested two Canadian citizens on drug smuggling and espionage accusations, actions largely interpreted as retribution against the United States in an effort to drive a wedge between China and Canada. In September of 2021, Meng and the prosecuting authorities reached an agreement under which she would be allowed to return to China and face no immediate criminal charges in exchange for her admission of guilt.
On the fourth anniversary of her arrest in British Columbia, Meng has asked for the accusations against her to be dropped.
Due to the import prohibition, Huawei is no longer producing the cutting edge of Android technology. Even worse, it appears that a trial on accusations including racketeering and conspiracy to steal trade secrets will not take place for several more months.
Through it all, the United States has been able to mount a successful counteroffensive against Huawei, which it has labelled a national security threat, and its global expansion by persuading the governments of its Five Eyes intelligence-sharing partners (Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand) to prohibit Huawei equipment from being used in their next-generation cellular networks. European Union countries have followed suit, severely restricting the company’s ability to monetize one of its primary exports.
If you’re searching for something more substantial to read over the weekend, Politico Europe offers an in-depth analysis of Huawei’s withdrawal from Europe and its plans to return.