China hands over cases of detained Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig to prosecutors

Asia World

“Now, time moves so slowly that I have more than enough time to finish reading a book,” Meng penned in a letter dated December 1, 2019. “It moves so slowly that I have enough time to discuss a trivial matter with colleagues, or meticulously complete an oil painting.

“Over this year, I’ve learned to be strong, to face the situation calmly, and not to be afraid of the unknown,” she wrote, before expressing thanks to her supporters, Huawei colleagues, customers and suppliers.

The letter, which was first published on Meng’s WeChat Moments page and later republished on Huawei’s internal community platform Xinshengshequ, outlined her reflections on the anniversary of her arrest.

The case has come to embody not only Washington’s suspicion of China’s rising prowess in technology and the potential national security concerns it brings, but also the complex geopolitics of the telecommunications industry as Huawei looks to lead the roll-out for upcoming superfast 5G mobile networks.

Huawei has maintained that Meng’s arrest was politically motivated and that she is innocent.

Canada, which facilitated the arrest on behalf of the US, has also drawn the ire of China. Soon after, two Canadian citizens were detained in China and have been in custody for over 10 months on allegations of spying, while another two Canadians were sentenced to death over drug offences.

The detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor – who were accused of threatening China’s state security – have at times been denied access to lawyers and cannot see their families; their lives are in stark contrast to Meng’s. Her bail and house arrest has been widely seen as comfortable and even luxurious, with the BBC calling her “trapped in a gilded cage”.

Meng, who is often photographed outside her multimillion-dollar Vancouver home in impeccable dress, complete with a court-mandated ankle monitor, is free to move about within a 100-square-mile patch of Vancouver until her 11pm curfew.

She is also free to receive visitors. Just last week, China’s ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu was a guest at her home.

Under her bail terms, Meng has to wear the ankle monitor which tracks her location, abide by an 11pm to 6am curfew, and pay for 24-hour surveillance by private security firm Lions Gate Risk Management Group. Her two guards and driver are tasked with ensuring she does not violate her bail conditions.

Meng is awaiting her extradition trial expected to begin on January 20 next year. Previously, she has appeared at several court hearings, where throngs of supporters turned up to cheer her on.

“At each trial, there are always long lines of people outside the court, and everyone’s enthusiasm and support has warmed my heart,” Meng wrote, before adding that she heard from colleagues that even food deliverymen would write words of encouragement for Huawei on the receipts of the meals they deliver to employees.

Meng also thanked the kindness of the Canadian people, including the correctional officers and other inmates at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women – where she was initially held – who helped her make it through the “worst days” of her life.

Hours after Meng’s letter was posted on the internal Huawei website, employees had left nearly 300 comments, with words of encouragement and well wishes.

“What stands behind suffering is greatness,” read one. “Add oil! Live well, we’re awaiting your return.”

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