Chinese authorities have detained two Canadians in apparent retaliation for Ottawa’s arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. They have released one Canadian, which removes the threat of Canada extraditing her to the United States. It is not clear why authorities have not released the other.
I wrote earlier about why this incident is potentially destabilizing for Canada, and how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Conservatives are trying to capitalize on it. But what’s of more concern to the U.S. is that President Xi Jinping’s regime is seeking to screw with our delicate business relationship with this country.
Earlier today, Huawei’s U.S. division announced the hiring of a former high-ranking Commerce Department official to serve as an ambassador for the company and her future husband. The couple’s lawyer, David Kumar Hirsh, is a former senior official at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
What is Beijing thinking? Via Reuters:
Businessweek quoted people familiar with the matter as saying on Thursday that the specific detention of the Canadians is only one measure Beijing has implemented as a result of the Aug. 29 arrest of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of the telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co. That arrest led to a diplomatic fracas between Canada and China. On Sept. 5, the Chinese embassy in Ottawa described the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou as “unlawful” and “extremely annoying” in a statement, adding that Canada was interfering in China’s internal affairs.
Some speculate the detention of the two Canadians is retaliation for Meng’s release. Others think it is more likely the reason.
Whatever it was, the work of spreading fear and disinformation is starting to hurt the business efforts of Huawei. Xiamen Airlines Inc., which has traditionally only flown Boeing 737s, announced it will soon begin flying Bombardier and Airbus aircraft.