Huawei CFO case ends with everyone looking bad
Since the end of the Cold War, hostage-taking has been mainly associated with AK47-toting lunatics in the Middle East, the sort of people who chain non-combatants to radiators for several years and accidentally kill relatives at parties by letting off celebratory bursts of automatic gunfire. More recently, Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko proved he belongs in their company by hijacking a Ryanair plane and imprisoning one of its passengers – a Belarusian journalist who had written some unflattering stories about his country’s ruler.
Economic superpower China officially joined the hostage takers’ club this month. Nearly three years ago, it rounded up two Canadian citizens working in China – Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor – and marched them into a Chinese jail. The imprisonment of the two Michaels came shortly after Canada had detained Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei, at the behest of US authorities pursuing charges of fraud. China, of course, insisted it was not retaliating and that Kovrig and Spavor were being prosecuted for spying. Their release, moments after the US dropped its extradition case against Meng, proved that was a lie.
That outcome for the Canadians is perhaps the only positive thing about the entire Meng affair, and yet it effectively confirms China as a rogue state. Nor will it reflect well on Huawei. The firm has long claimed to have no government ties, but its government stooped to kidnapping to fight Huawei’s corner. That will not make any Western politician comfortable about letting Huawei through the door.
While the full details of their captivity have yet to emerge, it is safe to assume Kovrig and Spavor were not downing Singapore Slings poolside at the Mandarin Oriental. Back in 2019, they were reportedly being interrogated for up to eight hours a day and subjected to 24-hour artificial lighting. It goes without saying, but there was none of the due process taken for granted in democracies.
To read the complete article, visit Light Reading.