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LETTER: Give in and place the world at risk

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her Vancouver home with her security detail for an extradition hearing in British Columbia Supreme Court, on January 21, 2020 in Vancouver.
Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou. -File Photo

In 2018, China kidnapped two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, now collectively referred to as the “two Michaels,” and held them hostage for 18 months in an effort to force the release of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, global provider of information and communications technology.

Meng had been arrested in Canada on a U.S. warrant and held for extradition to the United States, to answer allegations of stealing trade secrets and of fraud involving tens of millions of dollars for Huawei’s 5G-cellphone technology that would circumvent American sanctions against Iran.

China naturally denied that the two actions were interrelated. And just over a week ago, following a decision by a Canadian court that the extradition process should continue, China charged Kovrig and Spavor with spying, while denying once again that there could be any interrelationship between their more recent actions and those taking place in Canada. Anyone unfortunate enough to face such charges in China is almost 100 per cent assured of being found guilty.

If the name Huawei sounds somewhat familiar, it should. It has been a major sponsor for “Hockey Night in Canada” since 2018, and the contract continues at least up to 2020. If you want to infiltrate the hearts, minds, and thoughts of a large, and loud, segment of the Canadian community, what better approach than through our national sport and one of our most revered of symbols.

One would not be human, at least as we understand it, if he or she were unable to empathize with the detainees and their families and what they have had to endure for almost two full years. China, and Huawei, are counting on that. The absolute and reckless folly of giving in to these bullies, however, places the entire world at risk. There is no going back once you have given in.

Huawei is known as the world’s biggest telecom gear producer and one of the top smartphone makers. There is a widely held belief that installation of its products in other countries could help China’s authoritarian government spy on people around the world.

This is getting harder and harder for even China to deny, given its overbearing and intrusive recent activities in other parts of the globe.

At the same time, the huge company is engaged in various major promotional undertakings in sport, education and culture on a global basis, seeking to create a "‘warm and fuzzy" non-threatening aura to offset its country’s brutal, invasive and intimidating treatments of friend and neighbour alike, and its trampling of any concept of human rights in the process.

Last week a group of 19 prominent Canadians, comprised mainly of lawyers, former politicians and diplomats, penned a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking the Government of Canada to cancel the extradition process.

One would not be human, at least as we understand it, if he or she were unable to empathize with the detainees and their families and what they have had to endure for almost two full years. China, and Huawei, are counting on that.

The absolute and reckless folly of giving in to these bullies, however, places the entire world at risk. There is no going back once you have given in.

A Letter to the Editor of The Telegram late last week from former Premier Brian Peckford could not have stated this any more clearly or succinctly.

As well, the dramatic and emphatic rejection this past week by Trudeau, of the request to have the Government of Canada intervene in the process and end the extradition proceedings, was a position that was welcomed by many around the world. It may be an indicator, along with other such signs of late, that Trudeau is developing leadership capabilities beyond the name recognition, and that is something which our country, like many others, now so desperately needs.

Every time it appears that China may be softening or moving away from some of its harsher Communist tenets, they provide us with more than ample proof that nothing could be further from the truth. So, if you happen to read the name Huawei, and it occurs to you that they can’t be too bad because they were involved with “Hockey Night in Canada,” you may also want to remind yourself that they appear to operate hand in hand with China, and that they are an exceedingly effective arm of the Chinese government, which will stop at nothing to get its own way and to maintain control of everyone with whom it comes into contact.

Dave Randell,
Mount Pearl

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