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• Paid Protesters at Extradition Hearings Highlight Canada’s Predicament
• 17 Years After SARS Crisis, Beijing Controls Coronavirus Information
• Former Interpol Chief Meng Hongwei Sentenced to 13 Years
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Paid Protesters at Extradition Hearings Highlight Canada’s Predicament
Court hearings on the prospective extradition of Huawei CFO and founder’s daughter Meng Wanzhou from Canada to the U.S. ended inconclusively last week. Meng’s arrest in Vancouver in December 2018 prompted a flurry of retaliation from China, most notably the detentions of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who now face prosecution on charges involving state secrets. Although cases against top Huawei executives have reportedly been under consideration since 2010, long before Donald Trump’s election, the case has become inextricably entangled in the current wave of trade and technology disputes between China and the U.S.—not least because of Trump’s publicly declared willingness to use Meng as a bargaining chip. Canada’s uncomfortable position in the middle has heightened domestic disagreement over how best to navigate the trilateral relationship. From AFP, on last week’s hearings:
“I’m reserving judgement,” British Columbia supreme court Justice Heather Holmes said at the end of a four-day hearing.
Further hearings are scheduled for later this year on allegations of a conspiracy to arrest Meng – the eldest daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei.
If extradited, Meng would face US prosecution on charges of fraud linked to violations of sanctions against Iran.
Four days of legal arguments this week focused on whether the US charges would stand up in Canada, a key test for extradition.
Appeals by either side could also drag out the case – which has strained relations between the world’s two largest economies – for years. [Source]
Holmes had previously warned government lawyers last week, according to The Globe and Mail’s Sean Fine, that "this country needs to be wary of sending someone to face trial in circumstances that Canadians would find objectionable. Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes of the B.C. Supreme Court did not say that the U.S. request for Ms. Meng’s extradition is objectionable. But she raised the possibility for the first time that a case like this one might be – and that it would be a judge’s role to say so, and to reject the case for that reason."
An attention-grabbing sideshow to the hearings was the appearance of a small group of ostensible protesters holding signs calling for Meng’s release:
Within hours, some of the "protesters" had come forward, now "pretty ashamed and embarrassed," saying that they had been paid CA$100-150 either to protest or to appear as extras in a film or music video. (Others, tracked down through social media, have insisted that the protest was genuine.) From Andrea Woo at The Globe and Mail":
The group of roughly two dozen supposed protesters immediately raised suspicions of media outside the courthouse on Monday, the first day of extradition proceedings. The group held signs bearing identical slogans: “Free Ms. Meng,” “Bring Michael home,” “Trump stop bullying us,” and “Equal justice.” The handwriting on each sign was the same. Those who held them refused to answer questions.
The repeated references to a singular “Michael” seemed detached from the fact that two Michaels – Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig – were seized by Chinese authorities after Ms. Meng’s arrest in December, 2018, and have languished in detention centres since.
[…] China Central Television, China’s main state television broadcaster, reported on Monday’s proceedings, including images of the pretend protesters. “Locals gathered outside the courthouse, calling for the release of Meng Wanzhou,” a narrator’s voice said in Mandarin.
CCTV did not immediately return a request for comment on Tuesday. [Source]
Both Huawei and the local Chinese consulate have denied involvement, dismissing the suggestion as "purely a malicious smear."
Whoever was behind the paid protesters, various elements of their supposed demands have arisen elsewhere in the public debate surrounding the case. Eddie Goldenberg, former chief of staff for Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, argued in a Globe and Mail op-ed ahead of last week’s hearings that "there is only one surefire way to obtain the freedom of the two Canadians: free Ms. Meng as part of a prisoner exchange." "It has been clear from the start that the Trump administration considers the matter to be in the realm of geopolitics," he added. "Submitting to unjustified American pressure is no better than submitting to Chinese blackmail."
John Manley, a former deputy prime minister under Chrétien, has argued similarly, conceding that "I think it is clear that Chinese authorities took the two Michaels into custody in response to Madame Meng being arrested," but nevertheless describing them as blameless "victims only of the actions of the Canadian government." Chrétien himself said in December that the current situation is "a trap that was set to us by Trump, and then it was very unfair, because we paid the price for something that Trump wanted us to do." (Critics have suggested that such advice may reflect current business interests more than reluctant pragmatism born of political experience.)
Elsewhere, former ambassador to China John McCallum was removed last year after stating that it would be "great for Canada" if the U.S. were to drop its request. A Vancouver MP for the New Democrat Party said at a consulate-hosted Chinese New Year party last week that "I thought from the beginning that this case was tainted by the political interests of the United States and Donald Trump. I think that’s clear from Mr. Trump’s own words.”
This political backdrop was described in February’s Wired magazine by Garrett M Graff, who wrote that Huawei itself had been "caught in a geopolitical vise as the United States seemed to project all of its technological anxiety about China and globalization onto a single company [….] About the only thing that is clear is that the Trump administration’s fight isn’t really about Huawei at all."
President Trump […] almost immediately appeared to indicate that Meng’s case might be handled differently, and that the independence of the judicial process was up for negotiation. Just days after her arrest, Trump suggested to Reuters in an Oval Office interview that he might be willing to intercede on Meng’s behalf in exchange for better trade terms. “Whatever is good for this country, I will do—if I think it’s good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made,” he said, “I would certainly intervene.”
Trump’s comments left both Justice officials and Huawei executives fuming. Huawei leaders, who told me that they’d long respected the sacred place of the rule of law in the US system and wanted China to model it, now wondered how sacred it really was. [Source]
While Goldenberg suggested that both Canadian law and its extradition treaty with the U.S. allow Canada’s Minister of Justice to order Meng’s release, the Liberal federal government maintains otherwise. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected the suggestion of a prisoner exchange, saying that "we are a country of the rule of law and we will abide by the rule of law." Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has said that Canada will "honour our extradition treaty commitments."
A Globe and Mail editorial ahead of the hearings supported the government’s course and appeal to the rule of law, but also expressed frustration with the U.S. side, describing the U.S. as "AWOL" in the aftermath of Meng’s arrest.
[… T]he Canadian government did the right thing when it respected an extradition request from an American court in late 2018. This is what countries that follow the rule of law do.
If there is one thing that everyone can agree on, it’s that, by its conduct, Beijing has revealed its true face. The law in China is whatever the Communist Party wants it to be.
Canada stands for something different, and better. We don’t want a world where Group of 20 members settle disputes by kidnapping each other’s people and holding them for ransom.
[…] Where Ottawa now needs to direct its attention is Washington. The U.S. extradition request put Canada in this position, and we need its help and its heft, to take on Beijing. Help hasn’t exactly been forthcoming.
That, too, is a source of frustration. Canada is effectively standing up for the U.S. justice system, even as the United States is led by an impeached President who views the rule of law with Beijing-style contempt. [Source]
In an op-ed also at The Globe and Mail, lawyers Times Wang and Ti-Anna Wang wrote that Meng’s case offered a potent showcase of Canadian rule of law:
We speak from hard-won experience. Our father is Dr. Wang Bingzhang, the McGill-educated pro-democracy activist who is nearing two decades in Chinese prison. In our efforts to free him, we’ve learned that the only way to guarantee victory when your opponent is as powerful a bully as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is to not just hold fast to your principles, but to broadcast them – especially when you know people are listening.
The reasons boil down to this: The nature of the CCP, combined with its international might, means that nothing short of near-total capitulation to its will can assure the release of people like our father, or of the two hostages taken by it, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. In our father’s case, that would mean, among other things, confessing to absurd crimes that other governments have already exonerated him of, as well as, on our part, staying silent.
Yet, release on such terms would be no victory for us; indeed, for our father, it would be worse than dying in prison. It would, however, be a victory for the CCP, which is eager to prove that its opponents are engaging in empty rhetoric when they talk about freedom, democracy, the rule of law and human rights, and that what everyone really cares about in the end is money and power. Against such cynicism, the surest way to win is to live in a way that proves otherwise. One example of doing so comes from our father himself.
[…] As for Ms. Meng’s case, if she can substantiate her claims about her rights being violated, we hope and trust she will prevail. Regardless of the outcome, we are proud of the way she has been treated by the Canadian government thus far, and we look forward to the day when people in China can enjoy such treatment themselves. [Source]
Despite this apparent openness to Meng’s legal victory, Times Wang was dismissive of the prospect of a prisoner exchange in a roundup of views by The Globe and Mail’s Nathan VanderKlippe:
It’s a “bonkers” idea, Times Wang countered. “It’s telling the Communist Party that might equals right, and we agree with you.”
[…] If the Justice Minister “decides to intervene and release Meng, it means he’s telling the world that even in a democratic society, judicial independence should remain subservient to national interests and political consideration,” said Mo Shaoping, a prominent Chinese human-rights lawyer. It’s a matter with significance beyond Canada, he said.
In China, the Communist Party controls courts, and top judges have dismissed the concept of judicial independence. “China does not believe in rule of law in democracies either, believing it’s also a political tool just as it is in China,” said Yaxue Cao, the founder and editor of ChinaChange.org, which publishes news and commentary related to Chinese civil society and human rights.
A political intervention to release Ms. Meng, even if justified by law, “will only prove to China that rule of law in the West is just like their rule by law,” warned Ms. Cao. “It will also send a message to China that Canada is weak and can be bullied into submission.” [Source]
While attracting some praise for holding firm over Meng’s case, Canada’s federal government has been criticized elsewhere for being too cautious toward China. It voted unsuccessfully in Parliament against the creation of a Special Committee on Canada-China Relations, which held its inaugural meeting last week, and has faced questions over the strength of its position on mass detentions in Xinjiang and protests in Hong Kong. Last week saw the launch of Alliance Canada Hong Kong, an umbrella organization for an initial 14 advocacy groups pressing MPs for firmer action. From The Star’s Jeremy Nuttall:
“Ultimately, it comes to the bad choices of this government,” [Cherie] Wong says of the reason the alliance was formed. She is now executive director of the group.
[…] At today’s official launch, the organization unveiled five “demands” to be made to the Canadian government, crafted from a survey of 13,000 Hong Kong and Canadian residents, 2,000 from Canada. The survey was open to anyone and posted on social media by pro-Hong Kong democracy activist organization Citizens’ Press Conference.
The demands include using Canada’s so-called Magnitsky legislation to punish Chinese officials who have committed human rights violations, investigate foreign influence into Canadian public and private institutions and to provide humanitarian support for asylum seekers from China.
Ottawa must also condemn China’s human rights violations and protect Canadian’s freedoms from erosion by CPC supporters in Canada, say the demands.
But ACHK isn’t just disappointed in the federal government. The organization has also targeted progressive Canadians, accusing many on the left of being silent on the issue of China’s human rights abuses. [Source]
A propaganda directive on Meng’s case obtained by CDT last May ordered outlets to "follow authoritative media coverage and the Foreign Ministry’s stance without exception. Do not reprint related foreign media reports without permission."
Meng’s story, and the broader U.S. campaign against Huawei’s role in the global deployment of next-generation 5G cellular networks, have seen the company hailed at home as a patriotic choice and a national champion. This picture has been was complicated late last year with a public backlash, predictably censored, against Huawei’s reportedly frequent orchestration of police detention for employees involved in disputes against it. One case, that of 42-year-old Li Hongyuan, who was detained for 251 days, "struck a nerve for many in China’s expanding middle class, serving as a reminder of the tenuous state of the rule of law in the mainland for any individual when facing powerful interests."
Other countries have also been caught up in the campaign against Huawei. The New York Times’ Katrin Bennhold and Jack Ewing reported last week that Germany faces threats from America of curtailed intelligence cooperation and from China of retaliation against its car industry. At Foreign Policy, Mario Esteban and Miguel Otero-Iglesias described Spain’s similar dilemma. These and other cases are playing out against a backdrop of separate tensions in trade relations between the U.S. and European Union. The British government announced this week that it would allow Huawei a “limited role” away from “sensitive ‘core’ parts of 5G,” to the U.S.’ reported disappointment. Canada’s Public Safety Minister said last week that Ottawa was weighing security and “other significant economic and even geopolitical considerations” regarding 5G, but that there is no current timetable for a final decision.
U.S. companies, meanwhile, are losing business with Chinese customers to foreign rivals, and seeing China ramp up efforts to nurture domestic competitors. Huawei itself, according to Bloomberg News early this month, "isn’t just surviving; it’s actually thriving in some areas," with sales last year rising 18% to record levels. "The question is for how long," the report added, as the situation drags on, inventory stockpiles run low, and the Trump administration eyes further restrictions.
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Post tags: 5G, Canada, Canada relations, donald Trump, extradition, extradition treaty, huawei, Justin Trudeau, Meng Wanzhou, rule of law, United States
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17 Years After SARS Crisis, Beijing Controls Coronavirus Information
A new strain of coronavirus, discovered on December 31 in Wuhan and initially reported as a viral pneumonia outbreak, has so far infected at least 830 globally and killed 25. Most confirmed infections so far have been in China, with a few in nearby Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam and Thailand, and the first confirmed infection in the U.S. reported in Washington State on Tuesday. On Monday, a Chinese scientist confirmed the disease capable of spreading by human-to-human transmission, and alarm is especially high as China prepares for the national Lunar New Year holiday–the world’s largest annual human migration.
The infectious new disease has been compared to the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) that originated in China in 2002. SARS killed nearly 800 people in Asia between 2002 and 2003, and Beijing’s slow response to the emerging crisis attracted serious international criticism. Bloomberg News reports on how Chinese leaders are attempting to avoid a political crisis amid resounding global skepticism of its commitment to preventing public health disasters, noting the different social and political contexts in China 17 years after SARS:
“China’s leaders had to upgrade the security level of the crisis to ensure the stability of Chinese society and also because of China’s international reputation,” said Wang Peng, associate research fellow at Renmin University’s Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies. “The virus has the potential to negatively impact China’s image.”
[…] In response [to media an internet users’ urging for more transparency], the party’s flagship People’s Daily newspaper carried a front-page editorial on Tuesday supporting Xi’s call for action. The president stressed the need to inform the public of official policies to “safeguard social stability.” Premier Li Keqiang instructed departments to “spare no effort” to counter the outbreak, while a social media account under the party’s Central Politics and Law Commission pledged to punish officials who withheld information.
[…] “In general, the government is using the traditional Chinese Communist Party approach,” Fu [King-wa, associate professor at the University of Hong Kong‘s Journalism and Media Studies Centre] said. The goal was “to control the information, to control the media, to control the narrative and to give the people the idea that the government is handling the issue,” he said.
The risk of a public health emergency damaging the top leadership has only increased under Xi, who has taken more direct oversight over economic and national security issues than his predecessors. That means there’s no one else to blame if people decide the current outbreak has been mismanaged, said Willy Lam, adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Centre for China Studies and author of numerous books on Chinese politics. […] [Source]
Since SARS, Chinese leaders have regularly attracted criticism for their opacity when responding to other public health crises, including a contaminated milk scandal in 2008, a deadly 2011 high-speed train crash in Wenzhou, and more recently vaccine scandals last year.
Bloomberg News reports on online complaints about a lack of fresh information on the crisis, and on efforts by Chinese social media users to find and share information about protecting against the virus:
Most of the criticism on Weibo and WeChat focused on Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the virus originated. Officials initially reacted to the social media flurry by cracking down on those they accused of spreading rumors: local police said on Jan. 1 they investigated and penalized eight people who allegedly spread misinformation.
[…] “People don’t realize how serious this outbreak is because the local government wasn’t transparent enough,” said one user on Weibo.
[…] Social media users do appear to be using the platforms to find information to protect themselves from the virus. Phrases related to the virus were among the most-searched on Weibo, though the service briefly promoted “President Xi Jinping’s New Year’s Greetings” above those trending topics.
Some users took a lighter approach. A series of memes proposed creative alternatives to gloves and face masks which are selling out across the country, suggesting that people use condoms to cover their fingers, and bras to protect their mouths. […] [Source]
In recent days, there has been a spike in confirmed infections (most reports, including that from Bloomberg linked above, cited only 440 cases on Tuesday). While this added to suspicions of local or central authorities controlling information about the disease, the South China Morning Post quoted experts explaining that the reporting delay was due to the strict system in effect since SARS. On Twitter, University of Chicago Political Science Professor Dali L. Yang provides additional context on the delay (click through for the full thread):
The Wall Street Journal’s Mike Bird shared a tweet translating the frontpage headline of Wuhan’s daily newspaper:
At China Media Project, David Bandurski recalls that official embarrassment over international accusations of a cover-up of essential early SARS information in 2003 ushered in a “window of relative openness.” He continues to survey domestic coverage of the current outbreak, noting that official Party news sources are starkly dominating the narrative:
[…] Reporting at The Beijing News [where the coronavirus is the top story] comes not just from official Xinhua News Agency releases, or from “mainstream” (in the official sense) Party media such as China Central Television. There are bylines from the newspaper’s own reporters, one interviewing an infectious disease expert in Wuhan, another offering current updates on the situation in various cities, another reporting statements from health officials in Beijing. There are reports from the ground in Wuhan, and also from Hong Kong.
This is not to say, of course, that the coverage is comprehensive, or that it necessarily offers a full balance of perspectives. Official sources of information seem to take precedence.
[…] This most recent infectious disease crisis, with its echoes of SARS, once again exposes the basic nature of China’s Party media outlets, and their interest in “serving the Party” over the public interest – the domination of the “Party nature” (党性) over the “people nature” (人民性), to reference the debate over news values that raged in the late 1980s between then People’s Daily editor in chief Hu Jiwei (胡绩伟), a proponent of liberalization of the press, and the hardliner Hu Qiaomu (胡乔木).
If we look today at central Party media, we can see the Party agenda obliviously playing out right in the midst of this latest health crisis. [Source]
At The New York Times, Li Yuan reports that China–now under much tighter information control policies than those in place during SARS–is silencing experts, officials, and journalists who don’t follow the official line on the disease:
[… The] kind of openness [displayed in media coverage of the domestic SARS situation] is unimaginable now. Last week, when a group of Hong Kong journalists went to the Wuhan hospital that took in most coronavirus patients, the police detained them for a few hours. They were asked to delete their TV footage and hand in their phones and cameras for inspection.
[…] On Tuesday, Ms. Luqiu [who had shadowed then Beijing mayor Wang Qishan during the SARS crisis] wrote an article for qq.com, the news site owned by the internet giant Tencent, about the measures the Hong Kong government has taken in dealing with the virus. The article was deleted 10 hours later.
China’s disclosures have improved in many ways since SARS. The government admitted the problem faster. Beijing officials have shown determination to be more transparent. A top party committee said on Tuesday that it would not tolerate any efforts to hide infections.
“Whoever deliberately delays or conceals reporting for the sake of their own interests will be forever nailed to history’s pillar of shame,” the committee said in a post on WeChat. The post was later deleted. [Source]
In an opinion essay at the Washington Post, John Pomfret notes similarities in the tightly-controlled official narratives of SARS and today’s coronavirus:
Now another coronavirus has emerged, and the parallels with SARS are striking. Like SARS, the new virus emerged from a live food market, although this time in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. As with SARS, the local authorities were slow to report the new disease because they did not want the news to interfere with Spring Festival celebrations and a major political meeting in Wuhan that ended on Jan. 15.
Just like 17 years ago, China’s police persecuted alleged rumor-mongers after the government claimed the disease was under control. The party began to move only when courageous people challenged the government’s narrative and demanded action, except this time they did it through social media and not through text messages.
Chinese journalist Jing Zhao, known as Michael Anti, surely hit a nerve on Twitter (which is blocked in China) when he wrote: “some local officials act as if appointed not to serve humanity but to serve the virus. They interrogate physicians who reveal the epidemic, lock up those who warn about it online, and unreasonably give big banquets as if their main mission were to optimize the virus’ spread.”
I remember when optimists, including some of my Western colleagues, claimed the SARS epidemic had taught the party a lesson that openness was the wave of the future. In reality, China has made a firm commitment in the past decade to controlling information all the more tightly. [Source]
As millions of Chinese prepare to travel for the upcoming national holiday, Wuhan and three nearby cities are now on transit lockdown as part of the government effort to contain the virus. The South China Morning Post reports:
All public transport in and out of the Chinese city of Wuhan, including trains, buses and ferries, stopped at 10am on Thursday as the central government imposed a quarantine to try to contain the spread of a coronavirus that has killed 17 people and infected hundreds more.
Local residents had rushed to railway stations and the airport after the announcement of the lockdown on Wednesday night. The government told residents not to leave the city without “special reasons”.
On Thursday afternoon, the neighbouring city of Huanggang also announced a lockdown, starting at midnight, halting its public transport and trains out of the city. People were ordered not to leave unless in exceptional circumstances.
Two other cities in Hubei province, Ezhou and Chibi, later announced that they would also be locked down, starting at 4pm and midnight respectively. [Source]
More recent coverage from The Guardian reports ten cities implementing relevant lockdown measures, and notes that state-run media announced the cancellation of holiday events in Beijing.
Meanwhile, despite the quick international spread of the disease, the World Health Organization Wednesday decided against declaring the coronavirus an international emergency, noting that could change as more information emerges. At Wired, Megan Molteni reports:
After several hours of closed-door meetings, the 16-person panel of independent experts tasked with advising WHO leadership on the issue took a vote and found themselves split down the middle. WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus told reporters he has asked the emergency committee to meet again Thursday to continue the discussion. “This is an evolving and complex situation,” he said. “The decision about whether or not to declare a public health emergency of international concern is one I take extremely seriously, and one I am only prepared to make with appropriate consideration of all the evidence.”
[…] “What matters is the route of transmission,” Mike Ryan, the WHO’s director of health emergencies, told reporters Wednesday. So far, Chinese health authorities have presented evidence that suggests the respiratory virus is spreading through close contact with infected individuals, as is typical with coronaviruses. If that’s the only route, the outbreak is containable, Ryan said. “But at this time it is not possible to determine that absolutely.”
To better assess how the virus is traveling between people, the WHO is requesting more details from China about its rapidly growing number of cases. Specifically, the health agency would like to see data on when patients started showing symptoms, so it can start calculating how quickly the virus is moving through the population. WHO officials also want to know how Chinese health authorities are tracking potential exposures.
In addition, the agency has encouraged countries that have experienced exported cases to share any information they have about possible spread. […] [Source]
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Post tags: censorship, coronavirus, diseases, public health, world health organization
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Former Interpol Chief Meng Hongwei Sentenced to 13 Years
Meng Hongwei, the former president of Interpol who was previously a senior Chinese police official, has been sentenced to 13 and a half years in prison by a Tianjin court for bribery. Meng was placed under investigation in October 2018 after he vanished into custody during a visit to China from his home in France the previous month, and pleaded guilty to bribery last June. Meng’s was one of a series of high-profile disappearances that have been cited as examples of Beijing’s increasingly uninhibited actions, and the former official is the latest sentenced in Xi Jinping’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign, a drive that critics have said is being used as a tool to fall Xi’s political rivals. The AFP reports:
Meng was sentenced to 13 years and six months in prison and fined 2m yuan RMB (£223,000), said the Tianjin first intermediate people’s court on Tuesday.
At his trial last June, he pleaded guilty to accepting $2.1m in bribes, after the court said he used his status and positions to “seek improper benefit”.
The court statement on Tuesday said Meng had “truthfully confessed to all the criminal facts” and would not appeal against the decision. [Source]
At The New York Times, Chris Buckley digests state media coverage of the Meng case and sentencing, and notes Meng’s wife’s rejection of the allegations against her husband and criticism of the anti-corruption campaign:
The judges took competing factors into consideration, according to the report. On the one hand, Mr. Meng had “truthfully confessed to all the facts of the crimes,” it said.
On the other, the report said, the Chinese authorities have been unable to recover all the money that they say Mr. Meng took in return for business opportunities, promotions and other favors.
Chinese news coverage of Mr. Meng’s trial last year showed him as a humbled figure, gray-haired and overshadowed by two hulking guards.
[…] Mr. Meng’s wife, Grace Meng, has rejected the allegations against her husband and, unusually for the spouse of a senior Chinese official, sought protection abroad. She has stayed in France since his detention.
[…] “I think the anticorruption campaign in China has already been damaged,” she told the British newspaper The Guardian. “It has become a way of attacking people who are your enemy.” [Source]
At The Financial Times, Christian Shepherd reports that both Meng’s 2018 disappearance and allegations from Grace Meng over Interpol’s treatment of Meng have sharpened concerns about Beijing’s global influence:
At the time of Meng’s disappearance Human Rights Watch said that the case “raised concerns at global institutions where high-level Chinese officials already have been installed in powerful positions” because “any government official is vulnerable” to a graft probe.
[… Grace Wang] has launched legal proceedings against the organisation at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, alleging that Interpol breached obligations to her family by failing to challenge Beijing, accusations that the organisation has said are “baseless”.
[…] Mr Xi’s war on graft has become increasingly international as it has progressed, with Beijing pressing countries to return fugitives who have fled China.
Most Western nations have resisted signing extradition agreements with China, citing concerns about the country’s opaque legal process and accusations of abuses of justice in its courts. [Source]
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Post tags: bribery, global influence, Interpol, Meng Hongwei, sentencing, Xi anti-corruption campaign
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