CHINA / POLITICS
Update: 5 million people sign petition calling for Canada’s releasing of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou; ‘a collective public will’ shouldn’t be ignored
Published: Aug 19, 2021 08:16 AM Updated: Aug 19, 2021 10:16 AM
Meng Wanzhou Photo: VCG

Meng Wanzhou Photo: VCG

 

In 15 hours, about 5 million netizens around the world have signed an open, online petition that the Global Times launched on Wednesday night in demanding the immediate and unconditional release of Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou, as she has been arbitrarily detained by Canada for nearly 1,000 days. 

As August 26 marks the 1,000th day since Huawei's Meng Wanzhou was detained in Canada, the Global Times launched an online petition on Wednesday calling for her release.

The arrest of Meng Wanzhou is a blatant political persecution of a Chinese citizen and another example of the US government's unjustified crackdown on Chinese companies and its attempts to curb the development of China's high-tech industry, reads the petition. The petition also calls the Canadian government a "willing accomplice'' in the process.

Within 15 hours, over 4 million signatures have been collected from netizens from all around the world, showing the collective voice of people calling for the Canadian government to release the illegally detained Huawei senior executive. 

"Such a huge number of signatures that were gathered in less than 24 hours showed that the Chinese public attaches high attention to the unfair treatment of Meng in Canada. They hope that Canada would handle the case in a justified way, which is a commonly shared will," Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

The yearlong legal wrestling is seen as an unfortunate incident caused by the Canadian side, and the public generally believes that Meng will surely come back to China one day, Li said. 

The majority of Chinese people are very angry with Canada, and they believe  Meng's case is a blatant political persecution of a Chinese citizen by Canada.

Also on Wednesday, the Global Times released an open letter to Canadian Ambassador to China Dominic Barton, demanding Meng's immediate and unconditional release.  

A marathon extradition hearing for Meng Wanzhou concluded in the British Columbia Supreme Court, Canada, on Wednesday, and a ruling from the court is expected in the coming months, according to the hearing notes obtained by the Global Times on Thursday. 

Huawei Canada said in a statement it sent to the Global Times on Thursday morning that from the start, Huawei has been confident in Meng's innocence and it has trusted the Canadian judicial system.

"There can be miracles, when you believe," a recent post on Meng's WeChat moment seen by the Global Times read. The Huawei senior executive said this has to be a well-prepared battle while upholding faith. 

In her defense, Meng's counsel raised four branches of abuse of the process in fighting the extradition case, including the political motivation behind the case, the unlawful detention, material omissions and misstatements and violations of customary international law, according to the Huawei Canada statement. 

And during the hearing process, Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes raised the question, saying that "isn't it unusual that one will see a fraud case with no actual harm many years later?"

Meng's lawyers concluded their submissions at the extradition proceedings on Tuesday with a final attempt to end the case by building on an "evidentiary vacuum," claiming that the US fraud charges simply aren't valid. 

The case is widely seen as an unusual one with a number of points of suspicion.

Meng was accused of defrauding HSBC as she was alleged to have "lied to the bank about the Chinese company's business in Iran," and the accusations have centered on a previous PowerPoint presentation that Meng gave to the bank in a steakhouse in Hong Kong in 2013. 

However, Meng's lawyers have claimed that the US deliberately omitted two slides from the PowerPoint presentation, which showed that Meng didn't mislead the bank at all.

So, days ago on court, Holmes asked a Crown lawyer that "one in which the alleged victim, a large institution, appears to have had numerous people within the institution who had all the facts that are now said to be misrepresented?"

As proceedings concluded, Meng's counsel asked the court to consider the cumulative impact of branches of abuse, and grant Meng her freedom, the statement said, noting that Huawei has been supporting Meng's pursuit of justice and freedom, and "we continue to do so today."

Judges are set to hold a meeting on October 21 to lay out an exact date for the verdict, according to the documents Huawei sent to the Global Times on Thursday. 

For those politicians in Canada and in the US who claim to respect public opinion, such a huge scale of online signatures should not be ignored, Li said, noting that releasing Meng is not only the request from the Chinese government but also the Chinese people.

More and more people have realized that Canada has been playing dirty on the detention of Meng, serving as an accomplice of the US, the Chinese expert noted. "For a big country like Canada, such misdeeds damage its dignity and independency of its diplomacy. Canada is acting like a puppet for America, and that is generally acknowledged by the Chinese public." 


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