Tuesday, October 19, 2021

China releases Canadian Meng Wanzhou from jail

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Ms Meng was released on bail from the Vancouver jail on Saturday

China has released a Canadian woman held for more than a month in a suspected drug smuggling case.

Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei, was released on bail from the Vancouver jail on Saturday.

The unexpected development was attributed to an “honourable and fair” gesture from the Chinese authorities.

The move comes after the arrest of Meng, daughter of Huawei’s founder, on behalf of the US.

Ms Meng was arrested on 17 December at the request of US authorities and was detained in the Canadian city of Vancouver.

She was charged with fraud in relation to two separate charges, one relating to selling Huawei technology to Iran and another on the use of the US financial system to evade US sanctions.

In a statement, the Canadian government said: “We thank our Canadian friends and colleagues for their professionalism in this matter. The government of Canada is committed to a thorough, fair and just judicial process and looks forward to hearing all the facts through the proper legal channels.”

The request from China for Ms Meng’s release followed two weeks of protests and calls for her release from Canadian officials.

John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, visited Ms Meng in Vancouver on Saturday morning.

“I told her that this is all going to be resolved in a very honourable and fair way,” Mr McCallum told CBC News.

Image copyright AFP Image caption Ms Meng’s daughter, now known as the “Princess of Huawei”, has seen her mother since the start of her incarceration

Mr McCallum said Ms Meng also thanked the Chinese and Canadian consulates in Vancouver for their work.

“I said ‘I hope you don’t mind me repeating to you that we will never let our daughter suffer’,” he said.

Her daughter, who has been called the “Princess of Huawei”, has not been allowed to see her mother since the arrest.

Since the arrest, Canadian and Chinese authorities have faced tough questions about the legitimacy of the extradition request.

The New York Times reported that the US government will now demand that Ms Meng be barred from leaving the country.

“If we get that extradition to go forward, Canada will have to give Meng Wanzhou the same conditions as an accused co-conspirator in a US court would have to give to her,” a person familiar with the request told the newspaper.

The justice department will only release Ms Meng if she can come up with a lawyer to represent her, the same person said.

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