Huawei chairman Liang Hua said the company’s operations remained “normal” after the arrest of chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, and called for the early return of his colleague.
Liang said Huawei would continue to push on with 5G development despite more bans against the company. “In the face of a crisis of confidence from the West, first we must do our own work well, and continue to build Huawei’s competitiveness in the field of 5G,” said Liang. “We believe that customers will make their own decisions.”
Liang thanked those around the world who had supported Meng and Huawei. He presented a coffee cup to the media, which he said was made spontaneously by company employees, with text that reads: “The lighthouse is waiting for the early return of the night boat.” The term night boat, or "wanzhou", is a homonym and refers to Meng’s given name, Wanzhou.
Meng’s arrest in Canada, at the behest of the United States, has ignited a diplomatic row between Beijing and Ottawa, and increased tensions between Beijing and other western capitals, as a Washington-led trade war targets Huawei, a top Chinese technology company.
After Meng’s detention, China arrested two Canadian citizens, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, on the charge of endangering its national security, a move that has been widely viewed as retaliation for Meng’s arrest.
Hua Chunying, a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman, said western countries calling for the release of Kovrig and Spavor were ignoring Meng’s arrest, and criticised the US and Canada for targeting the Huawei CFO.
“The ugly nature and impact of the Meng Wanzhou case cannot be clearer,” she said.
Hua also rejected claims that Spavor and Kovrig’s arrests were retaliation by China. “China’s competent authorities took compulsory measures in accordance with law against the Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, because they engaged in activities undermining China’s national security,” she said. “We urge the relevant countries to earnestly respect China’s judicial sovereignty,” she added.
Since Meng’s arrest on Dec 1, governments and companies around the world have announced new bans and reviews of Huawei products, increasing financial pressure on the company.
Last week, the prime minister of the Czech Republic ordered his office to stop using Huawei phones.
European telecom companies have warned against using Huawei equipment, citing concerns about security vulnerabilities and the company’s ties to China’s military.
Also last week, Stephane Richard, the chief executive of French telecoms company Orange, said it would remove Huawei equipment from sensitive parts of its networks. German company Deutsche Telekom said it would re-evaluate its use of Huawei equipment, while British Telecom said it would remove Huawei equipment from key parts of its networks as well. – South China Morning Post
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