How Huawei’s case raises fears of ‘hostage diplomacy’ by China

WASHINGTON – Negotiations between China’s telecommunications giant Huawei’s judiciary and a top executive have been going on for more than 12 months and between the two presidential administrations and sparked a wide-ranging debate: whether to admit Meng Wangzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder.

Since his arrest in 2018, Mess has refused to admit that he misled the global banking organization HSBC about Huawei’s dealings with Iran a decade ago, although that was the key to his release from detention in Canada, where he was out on bail. Two Luxurious home in Vancouver. In mid-September, with a Canadian judge discussing whether he would be extradited to the United States, federal prosecutors told Mess’s lawyers they were ready to move away from settlement negotiations, and Mrs. Meng, ready to bring tech royalties to China, for trial in Brooklyn. .

Then came a landmark event: on Sept. 1, after a new lawyer sued him, he agreed to make a “truth statement” that the judiciary believed would be valuable in their ongoing lawsuit against Huawei – a company that has been on trial for years. The department and the American National Security Agency are in crosshairs.

Five days later, Ms. Meng returned to China on a plane to welcome a hero. The two Canadians, who were originally held hostage by Trump-up charges, were on their way back to Canada, as were two young Americans who refused to leave China for three years because of a lawsuit involving their father.

The seemingly well-organized exchange বিব the details of which have been confirmed by government officials, diplomats, and others with knowledge of legal matters has raised many questions. Isn’t this the first time in history that relations between Washington and Beijing have deteriorated? Was it a victory to save the faces of both sides, who got their citizens back, and ended an annoyance in the relationship through a call between President Biden and President Xi Jinping last month?

Or was it a breakthrough for China’s “hostage diplomacy,” as reflected in an alleged letter sent to Attorney General Merrick Garland by Indiana representative Jim Banks?

Mr. Banks wrote of Miss, “Leaving her like a slap on the wrist,” that the United States is broadcasting to any criminal that we are not very serious about enforcing our sanctions law. This is a dream come true for Iran, Hamas, Russia, North Korea and all other entities that have been the victims of our sanctions. ”

White House officials, from Press Secretary Zhen Saki to policymakers who are working out a strategy to tackle the complexities of simultaneous competition, retention and cooperation with China, deny there was any kind of agreement – or change in Chinese policy. “There are no links,” said Mrs. Psyche.

The Chinese have told another story, filled with stories depicting Ms. Meng as a victim in her press and social media. In their statements, the allegations against him were revenge for China’s efforts to connect the world with the Chinese-led 5G network.

Releasing the two Canadians and two Americans together, some senior Washington officials believe that despite the Biden administration’s protests, it was designed to look like a political decision-insisted by White House prosecutors, not an independent verdict. It is in China’s interest to look like a Cold War spy exchange, as it describes that Mrs. Meng was not guilty of anything other than promoting Huawei’s business around the world.

(In the end, he agreed to a suspended prosecution agreement, which would result in the dismissal of all charges, a subtlety missing from the Chinese account, including a reference to his “true statement”.)

“We can’t determine how the Chinese or others run their business,” Mrs. Psyche said Monday. “It’s a little different.”

But Ms. Meng’s arrival in China also undermines Huawei’s long-held view that it will never allow its networks to be completely independent of the Chinese government and controlled by government officials. When he landed, the event was covered live on state television and the buildings were illuminated in celebration. The People’s Daily called it a “glorious victory for the Chinese people” that would pave the way for other victories. He spoke of his allegiance to the Communist Party and to an organization governed by Chinese law and order.

In Washington, Huawei has long been the center of American fear of technological dependence on Chinese companies. Classified and invalid class studies have shown that it can use controls of global networks to redirect or block Internet traffic. Edward J. Documents released eight years ago by Snowden reveal a secret national security agency operation against Huawei called “Shotjiant” to gain access to Huawei’s network and understand the company’s ownership.

The Trump administration tried to stop the expansion of the Huawei network by threatening to isolate European countries from American intelligence. The Biden administration has tried a softer approach, including efforts to promote technology that will give American companies and partners a competitive alternative. That doesn’t change with Mess’s release, officials insist – and they suspect that China is now willing to be concerned with the United States on everything from cybercrime to trade disputes.

“I don’t think anything has changed meaningfully, which means China has to play by the rules,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raymondo told NPR on Tuesday.

After so many journeys in geopolitical competition, even after Mrs. Meng’s three-year stay in Canada, the prospect of a deal for Mess’s release seemed bleak.

Shortly after the arrest of 49-year-old Mrs. Meng at Canada’s Vancouver International Airport, China arrested and detained two Canadian men, a former diplomat, Michael Covrig, and an entrepreneur, Michael Spawer. They were charged with espionage.

Mess’s arrest also complicates hopes that China will allow two American siblings, Georgetown University student Victor Liu and McKinsey & Company consultant Cynthia Liu, to leave the country. President Donald J. Trump discussed the Liu siblings with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a summit in Argentina in late 2018. Georgetown University professor Ivan Mediiros said he was involved in efforts to free the siblings.

But Mess was taken into custody on the day the summit ended, and a former senior official in the Trump administration who was present at the event said the two young Americans had killed any hope of release. China rarely hides the fact that their fate was involved in the case against Mrs. Meng and thus in the case against Huawei.

Like several others who described the case in detail, the former official requested anonymity to discuss sensitive issues.

Negotiations resumed in May, when Messrs. Washington appointed William W. Taylor, a lawyer in power, who was acquitted in another high-profile case involving a well-known Washington attorney. Meanwhile, Canada began pressuring Washington to do something about detaining two Canadians in China. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly called for their release and the case was a frequent topic of conversation with American diplomats.

But administration officials were adamant that the judiciary was protected from that pressure.

Administrative officials say President Xi Jinping’s fate has also been highlighted. September Mr. During a phone conversation with Biden, Mr. Biden was silent. But they won’t say that, at the time of the call, he was aware of discussions with the judiciary about a possible delayed-prosecution agreement with him.

A week later, the judiciary told Ms. Meng’s team that it would withdraw from the agreement if she did not admit wrongdoing. Although the justice’s attorneys knew they could lose the extradition lawsuit, they feared that without evidence of what happened in an attempt to sell telecommunications gear to Iran, the department’s lawsuit against Huawei could fail. And they didn’t want to leave any precedent that Beijing could come out of legal accountability.

1 19 September, Mr. Taylor told prosecutors he would compromise, provide a “statement of truth” without admitting wrongdoing – and there would be no fines. Although the statement admitted to all the allegations originally filed against him, the formal appeal would be “not guilty.”

Now the judiciary can use his statement as evidence in his Huawei case. Apparently, the lawsuit is being pursued aggressively: just days after the deal was announced, prosecutors said in a lawsuit filed in court that they had obtained Huawei’s financial records.

Dan Bilefsky In Montreal and Michael Forsyth Reporting contributed to New York.

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