Monday, October 11, 2021

Huawei executive faces US extradition hearing after holiday postponement

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A Canadian extradition hearing has been rescheduled for a high-profile Chinese executive accused of stealing U.S. trade secrets.

Chen Jianchao, chief financial officer of the company Huawei, was detained in Vancouver last month on the request of the United States.

Details of the case against Chen were released Thursday. On November 21, the U.S. Department of Justice charged Chen and another executive, Meng Wanzhou, with six counts, including conspiracy, wire fraud and trade secret theft.

The Department of Justice asked for extradition for Chen on November 21, but his hearing was set for December 12 — after the December 1 Chinese New Year holiday.

But the judge postponed the hearing on Thursday so that Chen could resolve the allegations against him in U.S. court. U.S. District Judge William Martinez indicated that he would be “relieved” if it were clear that Chen would resolve the matter in U.S. court within a few days.

The Chinese government reportedly said that the arrest of Meng, Meng’s husband and brother were “blatant political revenge.”

The Department of Justice did not identify Chen by name in the statement, but the Chinese-language Global Times, a newspaper published by the Communist Party, published an article Thursday that quoted him as saying he was in Canada only to take his Canadian children to school.

“It’s shameful and deplorable what the U.S. has done to Chen Jianchao,” the article said. “According to Chen, his release will be based on the United States’ correct perception and by legal means.”

Chen is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Minnesota on Friday. It’s unclear when Meng will appear in a court in the same state.

As CNN first reported, the company referred CNN to the Commerce Ministry for comment in Canada on the charges against Chen and Meng.

Both have since been released on bail, but Meng is being detained at the request of the United States, and Chen remains under house arrest. Their arrest touched off a diplomatic crisis between the United States and China.

“We urge the United States and the Canadian authorities to immediately recognize that its arrest of Mr. Chen Jianchao and Ms. Meng Wanzhou has seriously interfered with China’s judicial sovereignty and has contravened China’s laws and international obligations,” a statement from the Commerce Ministry said Thursday.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang repeated the same stance in a Friday briefing. “China resolutely opposes the U.S. attempt to prosecute two of its citizens in this kind of matter. We urge the U.S. and Canada to stop the punitive and unprofessional behavior immediately,” he said.

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