New Delhi: A red carpet and crowds waving Chinese flags on the tarmac in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen welcomed Meng Wanzhou, Chief Financial Officer of Huawei Technologies.
In 2018, Meng was arrested in Vancouver, Canada, on suspicion that she violated US trade sanctions against Iran, and the episode had become a major irritant in straining China-US relations.
In August 2019, some Indian and Nepali journalists were told by Huawei officials – "We cannot help solve the China-US trade disputes because we do not really sell in the US."
Now, according to reports, Meng, the daughter of Huawei's founder Ren Zhengfei, entered an agreement with the US Justice Department in which she admitted to some wrongdoing while prosecutors deferred some of her alleged 'bank fraud charges' against her and assured that indictment could be dismissed in 2022.
Beijing has celebrated the return of the Huawei executive to China after a prolonged extradition fight with the US as a "resounding victory".
It is also being seen as another 'retreat' by the Americans, especially in the context of a new emerging world that one is witness to post Aug 15-2021 Taliban takeover of Afghanistan,
Now, the US has decided not to pursue the cases. The charges against her have been suspended for three years from the legal point of view and could be dismissed too. The arrest was not really so personal or an individual matter. The technology giant Huawei was charged with 'spying' against US interests.
In August 2019, this journalist was part of a delegation of Indian and Nepali journalists who were taken to Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen to explain the company' position' and give a glimpse of its technology.
A senior Huawei official had told the visiting scribes that: "If Huawei was born in the west, our story would be no different from the growth stories Microsoft, Google and Facebook." The implication was that Huawei was being unfairly targeted. Huawei then had a presence in 170 countries.
"In fact, no other Chinese companies have gone global like us. We strictly follow local laws…. and a large part of Huawei growth is also because of western companies," said the official.
There is certainly more to it that now Meng has been released rather so easily. Almost coinciding with Meng's return, China has released two Canadians who have been detained on similar' spying charges'. Beijing had, of course, repeatedly denied connections between the detention of the two Canadians and Meng's high profile arrest. But it is also a fact that Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat, and Michael Spavor, an entrepreneur with business ties to North Korea, were detained on espionage charges within ten days after Meng was arrested in December 2018.
How is the release of Meng now being seen as America's efforts to 'contain' Chinese designs remain a puzzle. Beijing has said the release of Huawei CFO shows China's strength, and Canada should "draw lessons."
The episode is seen as another sign of Washington's goodwill towards China on the global stage. Has the ice really broken, and can there be a possibility of virtual talks between presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping in days to come?
For her part, on her return, Meng has said – "If faith has a colour, it must be China red." That could mean a lot.