“The smooth release of Meng Wanzhou — China’s national power,” the Global Times newspaper screamed in a headline. “Meng Wanzhou recreates China’s spiritual landscape, meeting with the masses.”
The state-run newspaper went on to call Meng, the daughter of a founder of Huawei, the “Mao Jia-Yang of Huawei.” In the traditional Chinese legend, Mao was a high-ranking general who plied his trade in the West, preaching anti-colonialism, before returning to China to help lead the revolution in 1949.
On Wednesday, Meng was arrested in Vancouver and accused of defrauding international banks of $2 billion. The Financial Times reported that in recent years, the company has focused on developing technologies including 5G, or fifth-generation, wireless network technology.
The Global Times also said that if she remained in custody, the government would have to deal with international pressure, a verdict that many observers have speculated could result in a major punishment for the Chinese company.
In 2015, the United States arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou and accused her of violating sanctions against Iran by doing business with that country. Apple and Samsung suspended sales of Huawei phones worldwide after the charges. Those sanctions, however, were formally lifted in April this year. Huawei’s stock price has also soared in the past year.
“The arrest makes the case look geopolitically motivated and speaks more about an attempt to control the Chinese telecoms firm in sensitive areas such as 5G technology than about a criminal case,” wrote The Economist.
Andrew Ng, a political economist at Baidu, a search engine company and Google’s biggest rival in China, went on to compare Huawei to a public company that runs “an entire company, not just a business,” and asked if the country was spying on users in order to boost its own voice call system.
“If you look at China today, we are facing immense challenges of nationalist expansion of national power,” Wang Yu, the CEO of Huawei’s Fushun subsidiary, said. “Society has become stronger and we need to collect data as technology advances.”
“It also shows that the Huawei is considered part of China, and it should be treated as part of China,” Wang said.
Meng was released on bail on Thursday and is scheduled to reappear in court on December 11, just before Chinese President Xi Jinping is due to address a large gathering of Communist Party leaders, international dignitaries and people from the party’s youth league.
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