1000 days of injustice – recap on the case of Sabrina Meng after conclusion of her extradition hearings

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When I'm writing this in August 26th 2021 it has been exactly 1000 days since the arrest of Huawei's CFO Sabrina Meng. She was detained by the Canadian authorities on December 1st 2018 at Vancouver International Airport while she was having a stopover on the way to Mexico. She is facing possible extradition to the United States on fraud charges related to alleged breaches of US and EU sanctions on Iran. The extradition hearings on Sabrina Meng's case concluded on August 18th.

As I wrote in my first article on the case, Sabrina Meng is the first victim of the US trade on China. The US policy towards China has been changing already since 2015 when the Council on Foreign Relations released a report Revising US Grand Strategy Toward China. According to the report China had become a major strategic competitor for the US and that US policies towards China should shift from support and cooperation to pressure and competition. During the Donal Trump's presidency this competition became more vocal and one of its expressions was Trump's declared trade war on China. Trump himself connected Sabrina Meng's arrest and trade negotiations related to the ongoing trade war when he was interviewed in December 2018. During the interview he was asked if he would intervene with the Justice Department in Meng's case and his answer was: “If I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made – which is a very important thing – what’s good for national security – I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary.” Sabrina Meng and Huawei were just pawns in US's game to pressure China.

At the June 2019 G20 summit Trump told China's President Xi Jinping that Huawei's situation was very complex and proposed to leave it to the end and see the progress of the trade negotiations. As President Trump lost the 2020 presidential elections I wrote in April 2021 an article analyzing President Biden's New administration in the White House and if anything changed for the Sabrina Meng's case. As I anticipated in the article, President Biden has continued his predecessor's policy on sanctioning Huawei’s technology in the United States as part of the trade war on China.

In July I wrote about new evidence in the Sabrina Meng's extradition case and how it should be dismissed. I told how internal emails and bank documents gave evidence that senior executives of HSBC were fully aware of the relationship between Huawei and Skycom, even that Meng was accused by the US authorities of lying to HSBC about Huawei’s relationship with Skycom. This new evidence also pointed out that the Records of Case that the US used to ask for Sabrina Meng's extraditions were not valid. In the article I also told about the mistrial of professor Anming Hu who was accused of spying for the Chinese military in the United States. Even the juror in the case characterized the trial as "the most ridiculous case" and the charges against Hu as "a series of plausible errors, a lack of support from UT, and ruthless ambition on behalf of the FBI." Now the US authorities are looking for retrial and showing how far they are ready to go in their injustice to witch-hunt Chinese citizens in their attempt to pressure and compete with China.

Last few days of the court hearing just emphasised the absurd nature of the extradition case against Sabrina Meng. Even the A B.C. Supreme Court judge Heather Holmes, who must decide whether Sabrina Meng can be extradited to the United States to face a fraud charge says she doesn’t understand the US allegation against the Huawei executive.

The defense stated that in Canada's legal history, there was never a fraud case in which the government would hold the victim accountable in the absence of actual losses. The defense holds that Meng's presentation did not expose HSBC to any real deprivation or any reputational, loan loss, or sanctions risks. Even though the bank was aware of Huawei's and Skycom's operations in Iran, it still chose to clear Skycom's transactions in US dollars. Therefore, the risks faced by HSBC were caused by itself, and had nothing to do with Meng's presentation.

Now we have to hope that justice will be served and Canada won’t allow its juridical system to be used in a political play by US authorities against Huawei and China, when all evidence points against it. Associate Chief Justice Holmes made it clear that she has no intention of being a rubber stamp, so I’m looking forward to a fair judgement that will lead to the freedom of Sabrina Meng after over 1000 days of confinement.


Jari-Pekka Raitamaa

Founder and CEO of China Business Forum


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