Canada: 13 citizens detained in China since Huawei CFO arrest

Canada’s inclusion of Huawei technology in 5G network infrastructure would pose a risk to the US, Democratic Senator Mark Warner said. (Reuters)
Updated 04 January 2019
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Canada: 13 citizens detained in China since Huawei CFO arrest

  • Diplomatic tension between Canada and China has intensified since Meng Wanzhou’s arrest on December 1.

TORONTO: Canada said on Thursday that 13 of its citizens have been detained in China since Huawei Technologies Co. Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested last month in Vancouver at the request of the United States.
“At least” eight of those 13 had since been released, the Canadian government said in a statement, without disclosing what charges if any have been laid.
Prior to Thursday’s statement, detention of only three Canadian citizens had been publicly disclosed. Diplomatic tension between Canada and China has intensified since Meng’s arrest on Dec. 1.
The Canadian government has said several times it sees no explicit link between the arrest of Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, and the detentions of Canadian citizens.
But Beijing-based Western diplomats and former Canadian diplomats have said they believe the detentions were a “tit-for-tat” reprisal by China.
Meng was released on a C$10 million ($7.4 million) bail on Dec. 11 and is living in one of her two multi-million-dollar Vancouver homes as she fights extradition to the United States. The 46-year-old executive must wear an ankle monitor and stay at home from 11pm to 6am
The 13 Canadians detained include Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor and Sarah McIver, a Canadian government official who declined to be identified, said on Thursday.
McIver, a teacher, has since been released and returned to Canada. Kovrig and Spavor remain in custody. Canadian consular officials saw them once each in mid-December.
Overall, there are about 200 Canadians who have been detained in China for a variety of alleged infractions who continue to face on-going legal proceedings. “This number has remained relatively stable,” the official said.
In comparison, there are almost 900 Canadians in a similar situation in the United States, the official added.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang did not provide details about the other detained Canadians at a news briefing in Beijing on Friday, but said that China was ruled by law and it protected the legal rights of foreigners.
The Chinese government has not drawn a direct link between the detention of any Canadian and Meng’s arrest. It has demanded that Canada free Meng and threatened unspecified consequences if it does not.


Bahrain to use Huawei in 5G rollout despite US warnings

Updated 1 min 50 sec ago
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Bahrain to use Huawei in 5G rollout despite US warnings

  • Washington has warned countries against using Chinese technology
  • ‘We have no concern at this stage as long as this technology is meeting our standards’

DUBAI: Bahrain plans to roll out a commercial 5G mobile network by June, partly using Huawei technology despite the United States’ concerns the Chinese telecom giant’s equipment could be used for spying.
Washington has warned countries against using Chinese technology, saying Huawei could be used by Beijing to spy on the West. China and Huawei have strongly rejected the allegations.
VIVA Bahrain, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabian state-controlled telecoms firm STC, last month signed an agreement to use Huawei products in its 5G network, one of several Gulf telecoms companies working with the Chinese company.
“We have no concern at this stage as long as this technology is meeting our standards,” Bahrain’s Telecommunications Minister Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed told Reuters on Tuesday when asked about US concerns over Huawei technology.
A senior State Department official said the US routinely urges allies and partners to consider the risks posed by vendors subject to extrajudicial or unchecked compulsion by foreign states.
The US Fifth Fleet uses its base in Bahrain, a Western-allied island state off the Saudi coast, to patrol several important shipping lanes, including near Iran.
Bahrain expects to be one of the first countries to make 5G available nationwide, Mohammed said, although he cautioned it would depend on handset and equipment availability.
Early movers like the United States, China, Japan and South Korea are just starting to roll out their 5G networks, but other regions, such as Europe, are still years away and the first 5G phones are only likely to be released in the second half of this year.
Bahrain’s state-controlled operator Batelco is working with Sweden’s Ericsson on its 5G network, while the country’s third telecoms group Zain Bahrain is yet to announce a technology provider.
No foreign company is restricted by the government from providing equipment for Bahrain’s 5G network, Mohammed said, adding mobile operators choose who they work with.
Australia and New Zealand have stopped operators using Huawei equipment in their networks but the European Union is expected to ignore US calls to ban the Chinese company, instead urging countries to share more data to tackle cybersecurity risks related to 5G networks.
Mohammed said the rollout of the 5G network was an “important milestone” for Bahrain, which is hoping investments in technology will help spur its economy, which was hit hard by a recent drop in oil prices.
“It is something we are proud to have,” he said.