Chinese state media welcomed telecommunications giant Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, back to the “homeland” on Saturday after being placed under house arrest in Canada on what they called unfounded allegations of bank fraud.
But he has kept quiet about Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians released from Chinese custody, in an apparent act of reciprocity by Beijing.
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV contained a statement from a Huawei executive, which said its plane had flown over the North Pole while avoiding US airspace.
Meng said her eyes were “blurred with tears” as she approached “the embrace of the great motherland”. “Without a strong homeland, I would not have the freedom I have today.”
Meng was arrested in Vancouver in December 2018 after a New York court issued an arrest warrant saying it covered efforts by companies linked to Huawei to sell equipment to Iran in violation of US sanctions. had tried to do.
After more than two years of legal wrangling, securing a deal with US prosecutors, he was finally allowed to leave Canada and return to China on Friday.
Huawei, founded by Meng’s father Ren Zhengfei, said in a statement that it “looks forward to Ms. Meng returning home safely to be reunited with her family.” It said it would continue to defend itself against the US allegations.
Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were detained by Chinese authorities just days after Meng’s arrest, were released hours later, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said.
State news agency Xinhua on Saturday formally acknowledged the end of Meng’s arrest, attributing his release to “the relentless efforts of the Chinese government”.
Hu Zijin, editor-in-chief of the Granthshala Times tabloid, backed by the ruling Communist Party, wrote on Twitter that “international relations have fallen into chaos” as a result of Meng’s “traumatic three years”.
“Arbitrarily detaining Chinese people is not allowed,” he said.
However, neither Hu nor other media have mentioned the release of Spavor and Kovrig, and reactions on China’s Twitter-like Weibo social media platforms have been few and far between.
The Ministry of External Affairs has not commented publicly.
China has previously denied engaging in “hostage diplomacy”, insisting that the arrests and detentions of the two Canadians were in no way tied to the extradition proceedings against Meng.
Spavor was charged with providing photographs of military equipment to Kovrig and was sentenced in August to 11 years in prison. Kovrig was still awaiting sentencing.
(Reporting by David Stanway in Shanghai; Additional reporting by David Kirton in Shenzhen; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and William Mallard)