A top executive with Chinese electronics giant Huawei faces a bail hearing. The U.S. wants Canada to extradite Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies. She was detained Dec. 1 while changing planes in Vancouver. U.S. authorities allege Huawei used a Hong Kong shell company to evade U.S. trade curbs on Iran. China is pressuring both the U.S. and Canada over her arrest. Their ambassadors in Beijing were summoned by the Chinese government over the weekend, and an editorial in China’s Communist Party newspaper called her treatment “inhumane.”
Huawei is the biggest global supplier of network gear for phone and internet companies. It has become the target of U.S. security concerns because of its ties to the Chinese government. The U.S. has pressured other countries to limit use of its technology, warning they could be opening themselves up to surveillance and theft of information. The U.S. sees Huawei and smaller Chinese tech suppliers as possible fronts for spying and as commercial competitors.
The hearing on whether to release Meng on bail started Friday and will resume Monday. Canadian prosecutor John Gibb-Carsley asked the court to reject Meng’s bail request and Justice William Ehrcke said he would think about proposed bail conditions over the weekend. China’s vice foreign minister demanded that Meng’s arrest warrant be vacated and warned both Canada and the U.S. that Beijing will take steps based on their responses. Officials did not specify what those steps might be, but British Columbia has already canceled a trade mission to China amid fears China could detain Canadians in retaliation. Retaliation against U.S. or Canadian businesses in China is also possible. Huawei said in a statement that “We have every confidence that the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will reach the right conclusion.”
The arrest took place as China and the U.S., the world’s two largest economies, try to resolve escalating trade tensions. President Donald Trump has agreed to postpone U.S. tariff increases for 90 days while the two sides negotiate. China and the U.S. say Meng’s arrest will not affect trade talks.