Chinese media have lashed out at the US over the arrest of senior Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, accusing the country of using “hooliganism” to suppress the Chinese telecom giant at the center of what is turning into a major diplomatic incident.
State-run China Daily said the arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer appeared to be part of US efforts to contain the company, which is the world’s largest telecoms equipment provider, as well as its second-largest mobile phone maker.
“One thing that is undoubtedly true and proven is the US is trying to do whatever it can to contain Huawei’s expansion in the world simply because the company is the point man for China’s competitive technology companies,” the editorial said.
State-run tabloid Global Times said: “Obviously Washington is resorting to a despicable rogue’s approach as it cannot stop Huawei’s 5G advance in the market.”
The rhetoric came as Japanese media reported that the country was effectively going to ban government purchases of telecommunications products from Huawei over fears of intelligence leaks and cyber attacks. The report follows a decision by the US this year to ban government purchases of Huawei gear.
China has demanded the immediate release of Meng, the daughter of the company’s founder, and a former officer in the Chinese military. Meng was detained in Vancouver on 1 December and faces extradition to the US over reported links to sanctions violations.
Beijing has called on both Ottawa and Washington to immediately clarify the reasons for detaining Meng as well as her immediate release. China’s embassy in Canada has described the actions as having “seriously harmed human rights”.
On Thursday, the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said Meng’s arrest was not political.
“Of course there was no engagement or involvement in the political level in this decision because we respect the independence of our judicial processes.”
The arrest of Meng threatens to derail a fragile truce in a trade war between the US and China. The US president, Donald Trump, and Chinese president, Xi Jinping, had agreed to give their negotiators 90 days to resolve trade disputes between the two countries.
Markets were calmer on Friday after heavy losses in the wake of news of the arrest on Thursday. Late morning trade in Hong Kong and Shanghai saw stocks just about hanging onto early gains.
The Global Times said in a separate editorial on Friday: “We believe that the US government, like China, is willing to end the trade war. It just wants to get as many conditions as it can. This is a highly sensitive process in which the negotiating teams of both sides struggle.”