Ms Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei, was recently dealt a major blow as the Canadian court rejected a request
by her legal team to submit as evidence a trove of HSBC material consisting of more than 300 pages of emails and documents from the bank.
The long-running hearings are scheduled to enter their final stretch in August, and a verdict on whether Ms Meng is to be extradited to the US could be handed down by the end of this year.
The high-profile court case has caught global attention. Meng has been under house arrest in Vancouver for over 21⁄2 years. It would seem that there is little Huawei founder and powerful tycoon Ren Zhengfei
can do for his daughter as she fights her corner.
It is fair to say that Meng’s uphill battle was triggered by the US-China trade war
during the Trump administration. Huawei has borne the brunt of the bilateral tension, and been the hardest hit
among the Chinese tech companies – banned from doing business with American companies over espionage and security concerns.
Meng’s case has also contributed to the bitter dispute between Canada and China, in the wake of the ensuing Chinese detention of two Canadian nationals
in Beijing over allegations of espionage.
As China’s IT flagship company, armed with cutting-edge 5G
technologies and arguably heavily subsidised by the Chinese Communist Party, Huawei is inevitably at the centre of the US-China conflict. The fact that Huawei’s founder was a member of the People’s Liberation Army
has further fuelled the conspiracy theories about Huawei presenting a grave national security loophole.
It will be worth watching how the rest of Meng’s legal battle unfolds, especially at a time when China-US confrontations are intensifying on all fronts.
Whatever the outcome, three lingering questions remain: was the US morally right to target Huawei and its key staff members? Has China been rational in its tit-for-tat detention? And has Huawei been truly innocent and therefore unfairly maligned?
Dr Bob Lee, senior researcher, Think Hong Kong