A Chinese government spokesman yesterday took issue with US claims that telecoms giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為) poses a threat to other countries’ information security because of Chinese laws.
The comments by China’s National People’s Congress spokesman Zhang Yesui (張業遂), ahead of the annual session of China’s rubber-stamp parliament, followed news that Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou (孟晚舟), who was arrested by Canada at the request of the US, is suing the Canadian government over her treatment.
Lawyers for Meng, who is staying at a property she owns in Vancouver after her release on bail, on Sunday said that she was suing the Canadian government, its border agency and the national police force, alleging she was detained, searched and interrogated before she was told that she was under arrest.
The US is seeking Meng’s extradition to face charges she misled banks about the company’s business with Iran.
Washington has been lobbying its allies to shun Huawei’s products on national security grounds, saying Chinese law requires the company to provide it with intelligence on its foreign clients whenever requested.
Zhang said that US officials were taking China’s national security law out of context and “playing up the so-called security risks” associated with Chinese companies.
The 2017 law borrows from other countries’ experiences and is designed explicitly to “protect human rights and the lawful rights of individuals and organizations,” Zhang said.
“This kind of behavior is interference into economic activities by political means and is against World Trade Organization rules. It disrupts an international market order that is built on fair competition,” Zhang told reporters.
“This is a typical case of double standards that is neither fair nor ethical,” he added.
Washington’s accusations have been underscored by Meng’s arrest on Dec. 1.
Huawei also faces other allegations in the US related to alleged theft of technology.
Meng is due in court tomorrow to set a date for the extradition proceedings to start. It could be several months or even years before her case is resolved.
Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang (陸慷) yesterday also accused Canada and the US of abusing their bilateral extradition treaty.
He reiterated China’s demand that the US withdraw its accusations against Meng.
China urges Canada to “immediately release Ms Meng Wanzhou and let her return to China in safety while ensuring her legitimate and justifiable rights and interests and not repeat [Canada’s] mistakes,” Lu said at a daily news briefing.
In related news, state media reported that China suspects detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig of spying and stealing state secrets.
Another Canadian in detention — businessman Michael Spavor — was one of Kovrig’s main sources of intelligence, Xinhua news agency said, citing Chinese authorities.
The pair were detained in December just days after Canada arrested Meng.
Chinese authorities had previously said that the two men were under investigation on suspicion of endangering national security.
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