Huawei affair raises fears of ‘hostage diplomacy’ by China

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The near-simultaneous release of the two Canadians and the two Americans, some senior officials in Washington say, was designed to sound like a political move by the Biden administration, despite its protests – and not the independent judgment of prosecutors that the House Blanche insisted. was at stake. A senior administration official said it was in China’s best interest to make it look like a Cold War spy swap because it would go along with the narrative that Ms. Meng was guilty of nothing other than promoting Huawei’s business to the world.

(In the end, she agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement, which will ultimately result in the dropping of all charges, a subtlety that was lacking in Chinese accounts, as well as any mention of her “statement of the facts.”)

“We cannot determine how the Chinese or others run their business there,” Psaki said Monday. “It’s a little different.”

But Ms Meng’s arrival in China also undermined Huawei’s long insistence that it is entirely independent from the Chinese government and would never allow its networks to be controlled by government officials. When she landed, the event was covered live on state television and the buildings were lit in celebration. People’s Daily called it a “glorious victory for the Chinese people” that would pave the way for further victories. She spoke of her loyalty to the Communist Party and to a company operating under Chinese laws and guidelines.

In Washington, Huawei has long been at the center of American fears of technological dependence on Chinese companies. Both classified and unclassified studies have explored the extent to which it could use its control of global networks to redirect or stop Internet traffic. Documents released by Edward J. Snowden more than eight years ago revealed a National Security Agency covert operation against Huawei, dubbed “Shotgiant,” to break into Huawei networks and figure out corporate ownership. .

The Trump administration has attempted to stop the spread of Huawei networks by threatening to cut European nations off from U.S. intelligence. The Biden administration has attempted a softer approach, including striving to promote technologies that would offer American companies and those of their allies a competitive alternative. None of that changes with Ms Meng’s release, officials insist – and they doubt China is now willing to engage with the United States on a range of other concerns, from cyber activity to trade disputes.

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