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Extradition of the Telecom Giant’s Executive: Huawei in the midst of the Trade War

Chinese telecom giant Huawei's chief financial officer and deputy chair, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Vancouver on December 1, 2018, to be extradited per US’s request. While the US has been investigating Huawei over violation of sanctions against Iran, President Trump did not receive any brief about the arrest prior. Meng, daughter of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei has been a prominent figure in the Chinese economy. Her arrest came at a sensitive time just days after Trump and Xi Jinping agreed to a trade war truce at the G20 summit end of November 2018. US and China, engaged in a trade war, have imposed duties of billions of dollars on one another's goods lately.

China's embassy in Canada protested at the arrest and demanded Meng’s release. Her detention occurred when she was changing planes -- the Chinese called it wrong-doing, while the US justice department in the Eastern District of New York -- which Huawei said had brought the charges -- declined to comment. Subsequently at the bail hearing in Vancouver, the charges stated how Ms. Meng may have participated in a scheme to trick financial institutions into making transactions that violated United States sanctions against Iran. John Gibb-Carsley, an attorney with Canada’s Justice Department, said that between 2009 and 2014, Huawei used a Hong Kong company, Skycom Tech, to make transactions with telecom companies in Iran, violating US sanctions. Meng claimed Huawei operated in Iran in strict compliance with US sanctions, and that Huawei’s engagement with Skycom was part of normal business operations. She was granted bail by the Canadian court on December 11.

Meanwhile, western countries have been restricting the use of Huawei technology: US, Australia and New Zealand have blocked its equipment in infrastructure for new faster 5G mobile networks. BT, which dominates the UK's telecoms network, said it would not use the Chinese firm's equipment in its key 5G infrastructure. US lawmakers have repeatedly accused Huawei of being a threat to US national security, arguing that its technology could be used for spying by the Chinese government.

Notably Huawei is one of the largest telecommunications equipment and services providers in the world, recently passing Apple in smartphone manufacturing, second only to Samsung. The problem with Huawei is not only that they probably are pirating US technology, but the fact that they are technologically advanced. Furthermore, they provide solutions that are affordable and thus are becoming a threat to the West. If the purpose of the trade war is to attract talent/resources and gain economic advantages, western governments must create their competition edges. Detaining or extraditing executives with or without legitimate reasons will ultimately resemble building a wall around a country forcefully and impetuously. No real solutions to pirating or spying will likely materialize.

引渡电信公司执行长:华为难逃贸易战

根据美国的引渡要求,中国电信巨头华为的首席财务官兼副主席孟晚舟于2018年12月1日在温哥华被捕。虽然美国一直在调查华为违反对伊朗的制裁法令,但川普总统并没有接收到任何关于此举的简报。华为创始人任正非的女儿孟女士一直是中国经济的重要人物。在川普和习近平于2018年11月底之G20峰会上达成贸易休战的几天后发生此引渡事件,孟之逮捕实备受瞩目。近来正在进行贸易战的美国和中国已经对彼此的货物征收了数十亿美元的关税。

中国驻加拿大大使馆对此次逮捕提出抗议并要求释放孟女士。此次拘留发生在她于加拿大转换飞机之时 --中国人非常不满此种错误的做法,而华为所指出之对孟女士提出指控的纽约东区司法部门则拒绝发表评论。随后在温哥华举行的保释听证会上,指控称孟女士曾参与一项欺骗金融机构来进行违反美国对伊朗制裁交易的计划。加拿大司法部律师John Gibb-Carsley表示,在2009年至2014年间,华为使用香港公司Skycom Tech与伊朗的电信公司进行交易,违反了美国的制裁。孟则声称其在伊朗的商业活动乃于严格遵守美国制裁的情况下进行,华为与Skycom的合作乃是正常业务运营的一部分。加拿大法院于12月11日批准了她的保释。

与此同时,西方国家一直在限制华为技术的使用:美国、澳大利亚和新西兰已阻止采用其基础设施于快速的新型5G移动网络。主导英国电信网络的英国电信也表示,它不会在其关键的5G基础设施中使用中国公司的设备。美国立法者一再指责华为对美国国家安全构成威胁,称其技术可能被中国政府用来进行间谍活动。

值得注意的是,华为是全球最大的电信设备和服务提供商之一,已超越苹果公司雄冠智能手机制造的优势,仅次于三星。华为的问题不仅在于盗取美国技术,其技术之先进乃为重要关键。此外,华为提供之经济的解决方案,更成为对西方的威胁。如果贸易战的目的是吸引人才/资源并获得经济利益,西方政府必须创造竞争优势。无论有否正当理由而拘留或引渡高管最终将类似于在一个国家周围强势霸道地建造一堵墙。此种手法将无法实现盗版或间谍的真正解决方案。