On September 24, Meng Wanzhou, a top financial executive with the Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei, returned to China after nearly three years of house arrest in Canada.
Earlier that day, Meng had made a virtual appearance in a U.S. courtroom under a so-called deferred prosecution deal with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), under which she admitted to misleading the British bank HSBC about Huawei’s business activities in Iran.
Meng did not have to plead guilty as part of the deal. If Meng adheres to its conditions, a U.S. criminal indictment against her could be dismissed in December 2022.
Meng received a hero’s welcome upon returning to China, with her release framed as a diplomatic victory for the “strong motherland.”
“It has long been a fully proven fact that this is an incident of political persecution against a Chinese citizen, an act designed to hobble Chinese high-tech companies,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying said upon Meng’s arrival in China on September 25.
“The so-called ‘fraud' charges against Ms. Meng Wanzhou are purely fabricated,” Huashe said.
That claim is false. While it ultimately is up to a court to determine guilt, the U.S. has put forward compelling evidence pointing to Meng’s complicity, including documents and a series of on-the-record incidents.