Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟) described her house arrest in Vancouver as “restricted to a limited space” even as she spent her past six months in a six-bedroom, multimillion-dollar Canadian home.
Meng, 47, has access to top lawyers, moves around relatively freely in Vancouver, albeit with restrictions, and her comments drew immediate comparison between her life in house arrest versus the two Canadians detained in solitary confinement in China for a similar length of time.
The daughter of Huawei’s billionaire founder, Ren Zhengfei (任正非), Meng was arrested at Vancouver’s airport in December last year on a US warrant and is fighting extradition on charges that she conspired to defraud global banks about Huawei’s relationship with a company operating in Iran.
Businessman Michael Spavor, who worked with North Korea, and former diplomat Michael Kovrig were picked up separately in December, shortly after Canada arrested Meng.
Both were formally arrested earlier this month on state secret charges, but it was unclear if they have been moved to another facility where they might get better treatment.
“The difference between the terms of detention of Madame Meng and the two Canadians is going to just jump off the page,” said Paul Evans, a professor at the University of British Columbia who specializes in China and Canada relations.
He added that the contrast could anger Canadians who compare Meng’s conditions with those of Kovrig and Spavor.
The two Canadians have no access to lawyers or bail, are questioned every morning, afternoon and evening, and are held in a room where the lights are not allowed to be turned off at night, Canadian diplomats have said.
China has said only that the legal rights of the two men are being fully guaranteed.
Meanwhile, Meng lived in her C$5.6 million (US$4.2 million) home in Vancouver, which has six bedrooms and five bathrooms, after posting a C$10 million bail in December.
“Despite being physically restricted to a very limited space during my time in Vancouver, my inner self has never felt so colorful and vast,” Meng wrote in the letter published on Monday last week on the Xinsheng Community, an internal forum for the 188,000 Huawei employees.
She praised employees for their concern and said some were “staying up all night just to follow my case in distant time zones.”
Earlier this month, a judge in the British Columbia Supreme Court granted Meng’s request to shift to a bigger, C$13.3 million house, in one of Canada’s most exclusive neighborhoods.
Meng’s lawyers said in the court filing that the house would be ready by May 11 after renovation work, but it was not immediately clear if Meng has already moved in.
“From a tony to a tonier neighborhood,” Evans said.
Meng arrived for the last hearing in a Chevy sports utility vehicle wearing an elegant full-length black and gray weave-pattern dress.
In the case of the two Canadians, it was not even clear where they have been held.
The diplomats who have met them were taken to a police station and allowed to meet them there, rather than being taken to the actual location of their detention.
Under Chinese laws, suspects of crimes such as Kovrig and Spavor are accused of can be held basically incommunicado without charges for six months and it can be more than a year after charges are brought that the case goes to court.
Meng’s new Matthews Street residence is fully fenced and has clear distinction between public space and private space, which Scot Filer, chief executive of Lions Gate, her security firm, said in a court filing was among the reasons for moving her to the new house.
A coronavirus-free tropical island nestled in the northern Pacific might seem the perfect place to ride out a pandemic, but residents on Palau said that life right now is far from idyllic. The microstate of 18,000 people is among a dwindling number of places on Earth that still report zero cases of COVID-19 as figures mount daily elsewhere. The disparate group also includes Samoa, Turkmenistan, North Korea and bases on the frozen continent of Antarctica. A dot in the ocean hundreds of kilometers from its nearest neighbors, Palau is surrounded by the vast Pacific Ocean, which has acted as a buffer against the
Dutch scientists have found the coronavirus in a city’s wastewater before COVID-19 cases were reported, demonstrating a novel early warning system for the disease. SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — is often excreted in an infected person’s stool. Although it is unlikely that sewage will become an important route of transmission, the pathogen’s increasing circulation in communities would increase the amount of it flowing into sewer systems, Gertjan Medema and colleagues at the KWR Water Research Institute in Nieuwegein said on Monday. They detected genetic material from the coronavirus at a wastewater treatment plant in Amersfoort on March 5, before
TRUE TOLL? Some Chinese are skeptical about official data, particularly given the overwhelmed medical system and initial attempts to cover up the outbreak The long lines and stacks of urns greeting family members of the dead at funeral homes in Wuhan, China, are spurring questions about the true scale of casualties at the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, renewing pressure on a Chinese government struggling to control its containment narrative. The families of those who succumbed to the coronavirus in the city, where the disease first emerged, were allowed to pick up their cremated ashes at eight funeral homes last week. As they did, photographs circulated on Chinese social media of thousands of urns being ferried in. Outside one funeral home, trucks shipped in about 2,500
KEEN INTEREST: India is trying to procure medical gear from domestic producers and abroad, and China has emerged as a possible supplier as its factories reopen India is to buy ventilators and masks from China to help it deal with COVID-19, a government official said yesterday, even though some countries in Europe had complained about the quality of the equipment. India has recorded 1,251 cases of the coronavirus, with 32 deaths, but health experts said the country of 1.3 billion people could see a major surge in cases that could overwhelm its weak public health system. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government said that it was trying to procure medical gear, including masks and body coveralls, both from domestic firms and from countries such as South Korea and