Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer, arrived in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen on Saturday night on a charter flight organised by the Chinese government, after being illegally detained for nearly three years in Canada.
At around 10pm, the charter flight touched down at the Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport.
Meng, in a red dress, waved to the welcoming crowd after she stepped out of the cabin, which was emblazoned with China’s national flag. As she walked down the stairs, applause and cheers erupted from the crowd.
They crowd held up a banner reading “Welcome home, Ms Meng Wanzhou,” waved national flags, and chanted “welcome home.”
Meng’s family members, central and local government officials, as well as her Huawei colleagues were among the more than 100 people waiting at the airport.
There were no handshakes or hugs due to epidemic prevention concerns. Meng made a brief speech at the airport.
“After more than 1,000 days of torment, I am finally back in the embrace of the motherland.
“I am back, motherland!” Meng chanted to the cheering crowd.
“As an ordinary Chinese citizen who had suffered this plight and been stranded overseas for nearly three years, there was never a moment when I did not feel the care and warmth of the Party, the motherland and the people,” she said.
“President Xi Jinping cares about the safety of every Chinese citizen, including me. I am deeply moved. I also thank the relevant departments for their support and help. They have safeguarded the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises and citizens,” she said.
The crowd broke into an impromptu rendition of the patriotic song Ode to the Motherland after the speech. Meng sang along with them.
On Saturday night, many landmark buildings in the city exhibited giant welcome slogans, while drones flew in formations to form welcome messages.
Meng was arbitrarily detained by Canada on a US extradition request on Dec 1, 2018, at Vancouver International Airport.
She has pleaded not guilty to all charges against her and reached a deferred prosecution agreement with US prosecutors.
The US side has withdrawn its extradition request. Meng did not pay any fines.
Facts have proven that the targeting of Meng is a case of political persecution aiming to suppress Chinese tech companies, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on Saturday.
According to the agreement, US prosecutors agreed to defer Meng’s prosecution until Dec 1, 2022.
“This Deferred Prosecution Agreement will lead to the end of the ongoing extradition proceedings in Canada, which otherwise could have continued for many months, if not years,” stated the US Justice Department’s National Security Division Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark J. Lesko.
Meng was accused of misrepresenting Huawei’s relationship with Skycom in a PowerPoint presentation to HSBC bank in 2013, putting the bank at risk of violating US sanctions against Iran. — China Daily/ANN/Xinhua