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More than 100 million viewers tuned in Saturday to a live state television broadcast of the moment Meng Wanzhou touched down in Shenzhen, where the Chinese telecom giant Huawei’s headquarters is located. After having spent the past three years under house arrest in Canada, Meng—the company’s chief financial officer and daughter of its founder, Ren Zhengfei—was allowed to return to China after cutting a deal with U.S. prosecutors over fraud charges. Emerging in a red dress from a chartered flight arranged by the Chinese government, the 49-year-old Meng was received by a crowd waving Chinese flags and chants of “Welcome home” as she walked down a red carpet.
Moments after Meng boarded her flight from Vancouver, former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian businessman Michael Spavor were set free by Chinese authorities and flew home to Canada. Their detention on national security charges in 2018 was widely seen internationally as retaliation for Meng’s arrest, although Chinese authorities strenuously denied those accusations. Announcing the news of their release in a press conference soon after their flight had exited Chinese airspace, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “These two men have gone through an unbelievably difficult ordeal.” He added, “For the past 1,000 days they have shown strength, perseverance, resilience and grace and we are all inspired by that.”