Huawei manager: Propaganda reception for Meng in China

As of: 09/26/2021 9:27 a.m.

Huawei manager Meng is back in China – and is portrayed as a folk heroine by the state media. The release of two Canadians is not mentioned. Critics speak of “hostage diplomacy”.

By Steffen Wurzel, ARD-Studio Shanghai

Hundreds of people gathered at the airport in southern China’s Shenzhen City that evening to greet Meng Wanzhou. Videos show flag-waving women and men singing the Chinese national anthem.

“A thousand days of torture” under villa house arrest

After the chief financial officer of the technology group Huawei got off the plane waving and smiling happily, he gave a short speech on the tarmac. “After more than a thousand days of torture, I have returned to the lap of my fatherland. The long wait in a foreign land was full of struggle and suffering,” said Meng, who had stepped in front of the cameras in a red dress, the Chinese color of happiness and also the ruling Communist Party.

The Chinese state media broadcast Meng’s triumphant and nationalistically staged arrival online and on television. According to the state propaganda newspaper Huanqiu Shibao, aka Global Times, more than 60 million people in the People’s Republic watched the manager’s arrival.

Concert visits and shopping tours

Meng was arrested in Canada in late 2018 on a US judicial arrest warrant. The accusation: You should have helped to circumvent American sanctions against the leadership of Iran. Meng was placed under house arrest shortly afterwards and has since waited in one of her two villas in the western Canadian city of Vancouver for a possible extradition to the United States. The 49-year-old had to wear an electronic ankle cuff, but enjoyed a lot of freedom; Meng was repeatedly photographed attending concerts and extensive shopping trips.

After her return to China in the evening, she thanked the Chinese head of state and government Xi Jinping. He worries about the safety of every single Chinese citizen, “including mine, and he has not lost sight of my plight. I thank the great fatherland, the people, the care of the Communist Party, the government and the people who stand together have taken care of me. ”

Meng thanked “Fatherland, People and Chairman Xi” pathetically.

Arrest of two Canadians in retaliation

Obviously in retaliation for releasing the Huawei manager, China’s state and party leadership had two Canadians arrested at the end of 2018: businessman Michael Spavor and former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig. The two were charged with espionage and were held in solitary confinement in China for almost three years in inhumane conditions.

After a legal deal with the US judiciary, Meng was able to leave Canada on Friday. Shortly afterwards, Spavor and Kovrig were put on a Canadian government plane in China and left China for Canada. In recent years, diplomats from the participating states had looked behind the scenes for a face-saving solution for all sides.

China’s “hostage diplomacy”

Human rights groups now speak of “successful hostage diplomacy” by the communist government. This had repeatedly claimed that there was no connection between the Meng, Kovrig and Spavor cases.

From the point of view of Western diplomats and human rights groups, the events of the past few hours prove the opposite. The release of the two Canadians just hours after Meng’s house arrest ended shows that “China’s leadership is ready to use innocent people as bargaining grounds to get what they want from other countries,” said Sophie Richardson, China director by Human Rights Watch (HRW). “This is a worrying development.”

Case cannibalized as propaganda

The Chinese state media stage Meng’s return as a victory for the state and party leadership against the western world. The English-language “China Daily” writes that Meng was arrested in Canada because China is an emerging power – and that is precisely why Meng has now been released.

The media in China has not said a word about the fact that the Huawei manager was de facto exchanged for the two Canadians imprisoned in the People’s Republic.

After release in Canada: Heroes reception for Huawei manager in China

Steffen Wurzel, ARD Shanghai, 9/26/2021 9:02 a.m.

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