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Huawei executive freed by Canada arrives in China

September 25, 2021

Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have also returned home after over 1,000 days in Chinese custody as part of the US-brokered deal that saw the release of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou waves as she steps out of an airplane
Meng is informally known as "The Princess of Huawei," with the company having been founded by her father, Ren Zhengfei Image: Jin Liwang/Xinhua/AP/picture alliance

Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou arrived in China on Saturday following a legal settlement in the US. State broadcaster CCTV broadcast footage of Meng's plane arriving at Shenzhen airport, with a crowd of several hundred people waiting to welcome the tech executive with bouquets of flowers.  

Meng has thanked the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for her release.

"Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, my motherland is becoming stronger and more prosperous day by day," Meng wrote on social media platform WeChat while traveling home. "Without a strong motherland, I would not have my freedom today." 

The US government announced Friday it would suspend and eventually drop charges against Meng.  The Huawei executive had been detained in Canada for nearly three years on US fraud charges.

China releases two Canadians 

Two Canadians released by China as part of the US deal arrived in western Canada on Saturday and were greeted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor had previously spent over 1,000 days in Chinese custody. 

The men, who are often referred to as the "Two Michaels," were formally charged with spying by Beijing.

"These two men have been through an unbelievable difficult ordeal," Trudeau said Friday before their arrival, while adding that the two men have shown "strength, perseverance and grace."   

The US has also welcomed the release of the two men. Several Republican senators, however, have criticized President Joe Biden's administration for suspending the charges against Meng.

Chinese state media has been reportedly silent about the release of Kovrig and Spavor. 

Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
The arrest of the two Canadians by China was considered politically motivated

Detentions cause fraught ties between US, Canada and China

The detentions of the three individuals caused a tense diplomatic row between Canada, China and the United States. 

Western officials have slammed China for engaging in "hostage diplomacy" regarding the detentions of Kovrig and Spavor. China was accused of holding the two men in custody in order to pressure the US and Canada into releasing Wanzhou. 

Chinese Foreign Ministry Hua Chunying has called the charges against Meng "fabricated" and accused Canada of being subservient to US interests.

Wanzhou was arrested upon arrival in Vancouver International Airport in December 2018, with the US Department of Justice announcing formal fraud charges against Wanzhou the following month. 

Huawei, which is based in Shenzhen, is one of the world's largest telecommunications companies. The US government has criticized the company's 5G equipment and claimed it faciliates spying by the Chinese government. 

wd/rt (AP, AFP)