Country for PR: China
Contributor: PR Newswire Asia (China)
Sunday, September 26 2021 - 20:52
CGTN: Tech, politics and ambition: How Huawei's Meng Wanzhou stepped into a perfect storm between China and U.S.
BEIJING, Sept. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire-AsiaNet/ --

- Meng Wanzhou's release reveals Washington's attempt to prevent its stiff 
competition with Beijing from veering into a conflict, but it's far from being 
a reversal in bilateral tensions.

"I'm finally back home," Huawei's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou said 
when landing at the Shenzhen airport Saturday evening.

After nearly three years of being held under house arrest in Canada, Meng and 
her legal team reached a deal with the U.S. Justice Department on Friday which 
allowed her to return to China. The moment marked the end of a prolonged legal 
and political saga which took place amid rising tensions between Beijing and 

Shortly after the deal was reached, Meng boarded a charter Air China flight 
headed to the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen where Huawei is based. 

Meng, 49, has not pleaded guilty to fraud charges. Under the agreement, she 
will not be prosecuted further in the U.S. and the extradition proceedings in 
Canada will be terminated, according to a statement released by William Taylor 
III, one of the lawyers representing Meng.

"Facts have already proven that this is a political persecution against a 
Chinese citizen and its aim is to suppress Chinese high-tech companies," said 
China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Saturday.

What happened three years ago?

On December 1, 2018, Canadian authorities arrested Meng at the request of the 
U.S. government which accused her of wire fraud and sought her extradition. The 
incident took place as the Trump administration adopted an aggressive approach 
in dealing with China on a variety of issues including trade and technology.

Four months before Meng's arrest, the U.S. government fired the opening salvo 
against Chinese high-tech companies by issuing a ban on the federal government 
use of products by Huawei and ZTE – two leading Chinese providers of telecom 
equipment, citing security concerns. The following year, Huawei was added to 
the U.S. Commerce Department's Entity List, which effectively banned American 
companies from doing business with the Chinese tech giant.

Why now?

Over the past three years, Meng's detention has been a thorny issue between 
Beijing and Washington. Tensions that were unfathomable years ago have taken an 
incendiary crescendo.

There are two factors that facilitated her release, according to Guo Changlin, 
a former senior diplomat at the Chinese Embassy in the U.S.

"U.S. President Joe Biden is looking to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi 
Jinping at the upcoming G20 summit in person. [Also] Justin Trudeau has just 
been re-elected as Canadian prime minister [by a narrow margin] and is eager to 
fling off Meng's case, which after all has been a protracted bone of contention 
between China and Canada," Guo told CGTN during a phone interview.

Despite Washington's hardline China policy, Biden himself developed a close 
relationship with Xi when the two were vice presidents. Biden has been to China 
four times and the two met 11 times in person, noted Li Cheng, director of the 
John L. Thornton China Center at the Brookings Institution. 

"My point was that when I came back from meeting with him [Xi] and traveling 
17,000 miles with him … – that's how I got to know him so well," Biden remarked 
during a February town hall meeting.

"They have a personal friendship but how far Biden could go in light of 
nationwide anti-China sentiments remains to be seen," said Guo.

Li believes that Biden has to flex his muscles since the U.S. voter base is 
increasingly embracing the anti-China messaging. "He's not that confrontational 
himself," he added. 

What does Meng's release mean to China-U.S. ties?

The release shows Washington's attempt to prevent the stiff competition from 
spiraling out of control, but it falls short of being a reversal in bilateral 
tensions, according to Guo. The charges against Huawei remain in place, and the 
tech giant is still on the U.S. blacklist. 

The tech war is brewing. The U.S. pioneered the third industrial revolution and 
it's been at the very top of the pyramid over the decades. However, on the 
threshold of the 21st century, China and the U.S. have become fierce contenders 
in the fourth industrial revolution, which is dominated by chips and algorithms.

The White House listed China as "the only competitor potentially capable of 
combining its economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power" in its 
Interim National Security Strategic Guidance. 

"The end of the engagement era could date back to 2010 when China became the 
world's second largest economy," said Guo. When China's GDP exceeded 60 percent 
of that of the U.S. in 2014, hostility further grew, with containment policies 
ranging from trade to human rights over the years. 

Washington's attempt to contain Beijing in the high-tech realm predates Donald 
Trump's trade war and continues to this day. A hi-tech decoupling looks 

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