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Huawei CFO’s arrest testifies to US plan to contain China’s 5G technology: analyst

Huawei, China’s Shenzhen-based tech giant confirmed on December 6 that its Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou had been temporarily detained by the Canadian authorities on behalf of the US government while she was changing flights in the country. The statement also said the US was seeking to extradite her although allegations were not yet specified.

Chinese authorities have made a strong protest against the arrest. It’s a severe violation of human rights by Canadian police to arrest a Chinese civilian who has not violated Canadian or the US laws, a spokesman for China’s embassy in Canada said, demanding that they immediately correct the wrongdoings by releasing Ms. Meng Wanzhou.

Being the world’s biggest telecom equipment maker, Huawei has been caught in the teeth of the stormy China-US trade confrontations. Many analysts told the Beijing News, a state-run newspaper, the arrest of Meng is closely related to the US efforts to contain Huawei’s 5G technology.

It’s reported by the Beijing News that as early as 2009, Huawei invested $600 million into research in the area; and annual research expenses on 5G climbing to $90 billion by 2017. Huawei technology is generally regarded as authoritative in 5G field, with one-third of the network gear used by operators coming from the Chinese company.

Right before the arrest news broke out, many domestic Chinese media ran headlines like “Huawei breaks through blockade” or “America fails in forcing out Huawei.” It’s widely reported the company had gained 22 5G commercial contracts worldwide, which include a 640 billion order from Germany and six orders worth 270 billion yuan from Middle East countries.

Meanwhile, the US efforts to label Huawei a “threat” have worked. Many countries are thinking of removing the Chinese company from their 5G infrastructure plan, citing security reasons.

The company used to be the biggest telecom equipment supplier in Australia, while from this year, the Australian government formally demanded domestic operators not to use technologies and gear from Huawei or ZTE.

Even Germany is thinking about Plan B, reported the Beijing News. It’s known some high-ranking German officials are planning to lobby their government to exclude all Chinese enterprises from the country’s 5G infrastructure projects.

Meng Wanzhou is also the deputy chair of Huawei's board and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei. “Although details of the incident are not yet clear, the bigger picture is obvious,” Chen Qi, an international relations professor with Tsinghua University, told the Beijing News. In his view, with the US and China vying for high-tech dominance, the arrest indicates the US is intentionally containing development of China’s tech products. 


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