Huawei CFO says she’s endured ‘fear and pain’ during house arrest in B.C.
Huawei CFO and Chinese tech royalty Meng Wanzhou says the last year of conviction has been a year of “fear and pain.” as she remains cooped up in her Vancouver-area home under house arrest.
Meng was arrested in December of 2018 on an extradition request from the United States regarding the breaking of sanctions with Iran.“The past year has witnessed moments of fear, pain, disappointment, helplessness, torment, and struggle,” said a letter by Meng, posted on the Huawei website titled “Your warmth is a beacon that lights my way forward.”
Meng also noted in her letter that she has switched from her hectic lifestyle of business dealings to long days of oil painting and reading books.
“When I was in Shenzhen, time used to pass by very quickly. Every day, my schedule was fully packed and I was constantly rushing from place to place, and from meeting to meeting… Right now, time seems to pass slowly. It is so slow that I have enough time to read a book from cover to cover. I can take the time to discuss minutiae with my colleagues or to carefully complete an oil painting.”
The letter talks about accepting the situation she is in and saying she is “no longer afraid of the unknown,” and mentions her gratitude.
“Of course I’ve also been deeply moved by the kindness of people here in Canada. Thanks to the kindness of the correctional officers and other inmates at the Alouette Correctional Center for Women, I was able to make it through the worst days of my life.”
Following Meng’s arrest, two Canadians—businessman Michael Spavor and consultant Michael Kovrig—were detained in China.
Northern telecom ready to deploy Huawei 5G while Ottawa dithers on decision whether to ban it altogether
The president of the Canadian telecom partnering with Huawei to upgrade high-speed wireless service for dozens of communities in the far north says they’re waiting for Ottawa’s decision on 5G and could deploy it in the hinterland in short order.
“We’re testing a few things, so (Huawei 5G) is not going live anytime soon, but it’s definitely in our labs,” said Samer Bishay, President and CEO of Ice Wireless.
“Just because it’s the north doesn’t mean they should get the technology a decade later. It doesn’t make sense.”
But as Huawei 5G has raised national security concerns, Bishay said Ice Wireless is “doing its part as a good corporate citizen” by not deploying it and blames “the political stuff that’s kind of driving the whole discussion around it right now.”
“We don’t have anything that says you can’t deploy (5G), and we don’t have anything that says you can. That’s why we’re just experimenting.”
While Rogers has opted to employ Ericsson 5G on its networks, other companies like Ice Wireless await a final decision on Huawei 5G that Ottawa has dithered on making.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and the Prime Minister’s Office did not respond to TPM queries about when the government would make a final determination.
Huawei 3G/4G LTE has previously received certification by the Canada’s Communications Security Establishment Commission, technology that Ice Wireless is currently deploying in the north.
Back in July, Huawei Canada vice-president Alykhan Velshi announced the joint-venture with Bishay’s company to upgrade communications services in northern Quebec and the Arctic where the big three players–Rogers, Telus and Bell–are reticent to tread.
“We cover a large landmass, places that not even Rogers or Telus ventured to build. A lot of those guys roam on our network up there,” Bishay told The Post Millennial in an interview.
However, citing national security vulnerabilities United States, Austrailia and New Zealand–part of the Five Eyes signals and intelligence network that includes the UK and Canada–have banned Huawei from their 5G networks; Britain is also mulling a Huawei ban on its core network.
The 5G technology is purportedly capable of activating “the internet of things”–a Bluetooth world where all our gadgets are operable via smart phone–by enabling up to 10 gigabytes-per-second of data transfer on wifi, fibre optics and satellite conduits.
The downside of this technology, is proliferation of such gadgetry widens an already deep field of existing cyber-threats to national security, involving not just thrill hackers but hostile state actors with strategic intention.
And a recent analysis of the Chinese tech-behemoth’s ownership structure by Fulbright University economist Christopher Balding and George Washington University law professor Donald Clark, found it leads straight to China’s politburo.
“If Huawei (Trade Union) Holding (Company) is in fact controlled by a trade union committee, then given the way such bodies are supposed to operate in China, it makes sense to think of it as state-controlled and even state-owned,” Balding and Clark conclude.
Adding to concerns about Huawei, is a CBC interview that aired at the beginning of November with Susan Rice, former U.S. national security advisor to President Barack Obama, in which she caged Huawei 5G as a clear and present danger.
“It’s hard for me to emphasize adequately, without getting into classified terrain, how serious it is, particularly for countries involved in the Five Eyes,” said Rice, who explained the threat, then suggested the signals intelligence alliance (Five Eyes) between U.S., Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia would be jeopardized if Canada went ahead with Huawei 5G.
“That would put the security collaboration which serves the security interests of every Canadian and every American, into jeopardy… I don’t see how we can share (intelligence) in the way we have (if Canada allows Huawei 5G). It’s not a joke. It’s truly serious.”
To counter the negative publicity, Huawei Canada went on a charm offensive of sorts this week, ballyhooing the $50 million it has spent on research at Canadian universities to date and the $700 million it added to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product in 2018.
A baker’s dozen of international and domestic media outlets are asking the British Columbia Supreme Court to allow a live broadcast extradition hearings for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou.
Lawyer Daniel Coles represents 13 outlets including CBC and Canadian Press and argues that video and webcasting the proceedings would epitomize “open and accessible justice in the modern era.”
Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer, was detained nearly a year ago on Dec. 1, 2018 while transiting through Vancouver International Airport.
She is wanted in the United States for fraud and conspiracy charges related to Huawei’s alleged violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Hearings in Meng’s case are scheduled to start in January and Coles’ broadcasts requests to B.C.’s superior court will be made piecemeal, according to a Canadian Press story with applications pending for additional hearing dates, expected to stretch into the fall of 2020.
While there is no official edict or policy governing live broadcasting from Canadian courts, judges are permitted discretion in such matters.
Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan believes China is not an adversary to Canada, despite rising and consistent tensions between the two countries.
While addressing a crowd at the Halifax International Security Forum in Halifax, Sajjan noted that the detention of two Canadian citizens in China was unwarranted, but that the relationship with China is still needed for co-operation on trade, according to AP.
Tensions initially rose late last year and in early 2019 upon the arrest of Huawei CFO and Chinese tech-royalty Meng Wanzhou, who has been out on bail at her Vancouver-area home since her arrest last December on an extradition request from the United States.
Following the arrest, China detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor to pressure Canada to release Wanzhou.
In January 2019, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, a Canadian national, was sentenced to death after an unwarranted retrial. The sentence was considered a massive strike to relations between Canada and China.
Another Canadian citizen was given the death sentence in April of 2019 for similar charges. Fan Wei, along with 11 other men, were all given criminal charges, though Wei was the only one given the death penalty.
It’s day 334 of detention for Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, held captive by China in apparent retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in December 2018.
Meng’s wanted in the United States for charges related to the Chinese tech-giant’s violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran, allegedly conducting business with the rogue Islamist state through a front company in Hong Kong.
Shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017, he withdrew the United States from the ‘Iran nuclear deal’, favouring sanctions and sabre rattling to prevent Iran from enriching uranium and building nuclear weapons.
Caught between two economic and military superpowers, Canada got a bit of reprieve this week, at least our pig farmers did, after China lifted its embargo on Canadian pork while similar, retaliatory prohibitions remain for our canola and beef.
If these problems weren’t enough, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s previous government delayed a decision whether to allow Huawei 5G technology onto our domestic telecommunications network – the United States has already banned it over national security concerns.
During a CBC interview aired Monday with Susan Rice, the former U.S. national security advisor to President Barack Obama echoed these concerns and said Huawei 5G presented a clear and present danger.
“It’s hard for me to emphasize adequately, without getting into classified terrain, how serious it is, particularly for countries involved in the Five Eyes,” said Rice who explained threat, then suggested the signals intelligence alliance (Five Eyes) between U.S., Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia would be jeopardized if Canada went ahead with Huawei 5G.
Huawei isn’t the only company that can provide 5G, purportedly capable of 10 gigabytes-per-second of data transfer that can activate a Bluetooth ‘internet of things’ world where all gadgets are operable via smartphone.
But Huawei’s current proliferation in the marketplace and its ties with the Chinese Communist Party, as The Post Millennial previously reported, raise questions about why the Trudeau government dithers on this national security front.
“It gives the China the ability, if they choose to use it, to access all kinds of information, civilian intelligence, military, that could be very, very compromising. As much as I disagree with the Trump administration on a number of things, on this their concern about Huawei, I believe they’re right.”
Rice went on to say that if Canada were to allow the technology on its telecom infrastructure that would forever change the security relationship between our countries.
“That would put the security collaboration which serves the security interests of every Canadian and every American, into jeopardy,” Rice said. “It can’t be done. I don’t see how we can share (intelligence) in the way we have. It’s not a joke. It’s truly serious.”
National security concerns about Huawei 5G are not new – New Zealand and Australia have followed America’s lead, while UK and Canada dither – despite warnings from intelligence experts, and now the former U.S. national security advisor.
Adding more complications to the diplomatic mess, and the Trudeau government’s inability to make a decision on Huawei 5G – one Rice’s interview indicates should be a no-brainer – is the extent to which Huawei has wormed its way into Canadian university research, and the money mainland China students pay to attend post-secondary here.
According to internal documents from the University of British Columbia obtained by National Post, after Meng’s arrest, faculty and administrators were more worried about losing Chinese students, related Huawei research deals and estranging faculty from China, than national security or the university’s integrity.
Huawei research sponsorship at UBC is currently worth $9.5 million and mainland China students make up nearly 10 percent of total enrolment at the university; 5,717 or approximately one-third of all international students at the school.
In the day’s following Meng’s arrest as she was transiting through Vancouver International Airport, teachers and admin contemplated a PR strategy to combat commentary in media critical of Canadian universities’ relations with Huawei.
On December 10, the same day Kovrig and Spavor were arrested in China – the pair have since been accused of espionage – Paul Evans, an Asia expert at UBC’s public policy school wrote colleagues proposing they decide whether to be “proactive or reactive” to events that could impact research cash or students from the communist regime.