China welcomes the return of Huawei’s CFO

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Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou arrived in China on Saturday after spending more than 1,000 days of house arrest in Canada after an agreement with US prosecutors to end a fraud case against her.

Local media reported that two Canadians who had been detained by Chinese authorities only days after Meng’s detention were released and returned to Calgary on Saturday, where they were received by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei Technologies founder Ren Zhengfei, was allowed to return home after reaching a deal on Friday to end a bank fraud case. This resulted in the cancellation of a court hearing in Vancouver on the same day to consider the US extradition request.

The years-long extradition issue has been a major source of contention between Beijing and Washington, with Chinese officials suggesting the case should be dropped to help end the diplomatic stalemate.

Chinese state media welcomed Meng’s return to the “motherland” on Saturday, but Chinese media were silent about Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, the two Canadians released by China in an apparent reciprocal move by Beijing.

Trudeau said they were also released a few hours after Meng was released.

CTV footage showed Trudeau receiving businessman Spavor and former diplomat Kovrig upon their arrival in the western Canadian city of Calgary.

There was no comment from the Prime Minister’s Office.

This deal exposes US President Joe Biden to criticism from staunch opponents of China in Washington, who say his administration is capitulating to China and one of its major companies at the center of global technology competition between the two countries.

Meng was arrested at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018 on a US warrant and charged with bank and electronic fraud over allegations that it misled HSBC about the telecoms giant’s business dealings in Iran.

After more than two years of legal wrangling, Meng was finally allowed to leave Canada and return to China on Friday after securing the deal with US prosecutors.

Acting US Attorney Nicole Buckman said Meng “has assumed responsibility for her primary role in continuing a scheme to defraud a global financial institution.”

But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the charges against her were “fabricated” in order to suppress the country’s high-tech industries.

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