This Thursday, Canada had arrested the CFO of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei at its Vancouver airport, pending the possibility of extradition to the United States. Meng Wanzhou is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, who also happens to be a former People’s Liberation Army (PLA) officer and elected member of the 12th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. Her arrest has made waves in a time of trade tensions between China and the United States especially after a 90-day truce negotiated between Presidents Donald Trump and Xi Jinping just earlier on the day of her arrest.
The arrest on Thursday was highly possibly made in conjunction to the company’s flouting of US sanctions, and caused widespread contagion in global financial market, particularly in Huawei’s stock, but also in major supply chain partners Intel and Qualcomm.
Meng was arrested whilst in transit, and Huawei has maintained that they are “not aware of any wrongdoing by Ms. Meng.” The China embassy in Canada has voiced its opposition, calling for the immediate release of Meng.
Opposition, however, has been most vociferous on Chinese social media. Calls for boycotts on US products, along with plenty of ire directed at the US and its leadership, alleging that the actions were borne out of jealousy and protectionism.
That’s not implausible, and the FBI, NSA and CIA have been unanimous: don’t use Chinese phones – Huawei and ZTE in particular. Amidst fears of foreign intervention in US elections through deceit, espionage and manipulation of social media platforms, the US has clamped down on imports of Huawei and ZTE phones – in toto.