Meng Wanzhou

Huawei’s CFO writes Open Letter after a year under house arrest

Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou marked the first anniversary of her arrest in Canada by penning an open letter to her supporters, thanking them for their “warmth” and “kindness.”

In the letter, which was written in English and posted on the company’s website on Sunday, Meng said that living under house arrest, while difficult, has allowed her to slow the pace of her life — read a book from cover to cover, complete an oil painting.

“Now, time moves so slowly that I have more than enough time to finish reading a book,” Meng penned in a letter dated December 1, 2019. “It moves so slowly that I have enough time to discuss a trivial matter with colleagues, or meticulously complete an oil painting.

“Over this year, I’ve learned to be strong, to face the situation calmly, and not to be afraid of the unknown,” she wrote, before expressing thanks to her supporters, Huawei colleagues, customers and suppliers.

Canadian police, at the behest of the US, apprehended Meng on charges of bank fraud and allegations of violating sanctions placed on Iran in December last year while she was transiting in Canada. She was placed under partial house arrest at $10 million bail and is closely monitored via an ankle bracelet, where she has remained for the past year as Canadian courts deliberate over her extradition to the US.

The case has come to embody not only Washington’s suspicion of China’s rising prowess in technology and the potential national security concerns it brings, but also the complex geopolitics of the telecommunications industry as Huawei looks to lead the roll-out for upcoming 5G mobile networks.

Huawei has maintained that Meng’s arrest was politically motivated and that she is innocent.

Canada, which facilitated the arrest on behalf of the US, has also drawn the ire of China. Soon after, two Canadian citizens were detained in China and have been in custody for over 10 months on allegations of spying, while another two Canadians were sentenced to death over drug offences.

Meng, who is often photographed outside her multimillion-dollar Vancouver home in impeccable dress, complete with a court-mandated ankle monitor, is free to move about within a 100-square-mile patch of Vancouver until her 11pm curfew, and is free to receive visitors.

Under her bail terms, Meng has to wear the ankle monitor which tracks her location, abide by an 11pm to 6am curfew, and pay for 24-hour surveillance by private security firm Lions Gate Risk Management Group. Her two guards and driver are tasked with ensuring she does not violate her bail conditions.

Meng is awaiting her extradition trial expected to begin on January 20 next year. Previously, she has appeared at several court hearings, where throngs of supporters turned up to cheer her on.

“At each trial, there are always long lines of people outside the court, and everyone’s enthusiasm and support has warmed my heart,” Meng wrote, before adding that she heard from colleagues that even food deliverymen would write words of encouragement for Huawei on the receipts of the meals they deliver to employees.

Meng also thanked the kindness of the Canadian people, including the correctional officers and other inmates at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women – where she was initially held – who helped her make it through the “worst days” of her life.

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