A Chinese Executive’s Arrest Could Open a New Front in the ‘High-Tech Trade War’

A Chinese Executive’s Arrest Could Open a New Front in the ‘High-Tech Trade War’
Visitors look at a display from Chinese technology firm Huawei at the PT Expo in Beijing, Sept. 26, 2018 (AP photo by Mark Schiefelbein).

Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, WPR Newsletter and Engagement Editor Benjamin Wilhelm curates the week’s top news and expert analysis on China.

The arrest of Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Canada at the United States’ request has dominated headlines since the story broke last Wednesday afternoon. But it is only the latest chapter in both the Chinese telecommunication giant’s rise to global prominence and Washington’s broader high-tech trade war with Beijing.

Meng, who is also the daughter of Huawei’s billionaire founder, Ren Zhengfei, was arrested earlier this month while changing planes in Vancouver. U.S. authorities believe she violated sanctions on Iran and are seeking her extradition. Canadian prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley argued in court on Friday that Meng committed fraud in 2013 by misleading financial institutions about Huawei’s relationship with Hong Kong-based telecom firm Skycom, which was reportedly selling American goods to Iran in violation of U.S. sanctions. Meng allegedly said that Huawei and Skycom were wholly separate entities despite email addresses and bank records that link the companies, a charge denied by Meng’s lawyer. Meng has since been released on bail but is under 24-hour surveillance as she awaits further hearings to decide whether she will be extradited to the U.S.

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