Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of telecoms giant Huawei, was welcomed back to the “motherland” by Chinese state media on Saturday, after spending more than 1,000 days in Canada under house arrest on what they called false charges of bank fraud.
They have been mute, however, regarding Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians who were released from Chinese captivity in what appears to be a gesture of goodwill.
The Huawei CEO issued a statement as her plane sailed over the North Pole, avoiding US airspace, according to Chinese official television CCTV.
Her eyes were “blurring with tears’ ‘ as she approached “the embrace of the great motherland”, Meng said. “Without a strong motherland, I wouldn’t have the freedom I have today.”
Meng was arrested in Vancouver in December 2018 after a New York judge issued an arrest warrant, alleging that she attempted to cover up Huawei-linked companies’ plans to sell equipment to Iran in violation of US sanctions.
She was finally allowed to leave Canada and go back to China on Friday, after reaching an agreement with US authorities after more than two years of legal fighting.
Huawei, founded by Meng`s father Ren Zhengfei, said in a statement that it “looked forward to seeing Ms. Meng returning home safely to be reunited with her family.” It said it would continue to defend itself against US charges.
Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, detained by Chinese authorities just days after Meng`s arrest, were released a few hours later, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said.
State news agency Xinhua formally acknowledged the end of Meng`s house arrest on Saturday, attributing her release to the “unremitting efforts of the Chinese government”.
Hu Xijin, editor in chief of the Global Times tabloid backed by the ruling Communist Party, wrote on Twitter that “international relations have fallen into chaos” as a result of Meng`s “painful three years”.
He added, “No arbitrary detention of Chinese people is allowed.”
However, neither Hu nor other media have mentioned the release of Spavor and Kovrig, and reactions on China`s Twitter-like Weibo social media platform have been few and far between.
The foreign ministry has not commented publicly.
China has previously denied engaging in “hostage diplomacy”, insisting that the arrest and detention of the two Canadians was not tied in any way to the extradition proceedings against Meng.
Spavor was accused of supplying photographs of military equipment to Kovrig and sentenced to 11 years in jail in August. Kovrig had still been awaiting sentencing.