After nearly three years of extradition tango, Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou arrived in China on Saturday, the same day two Canadians detained by Beijing for more than three years returned to Canada.
An agreement reached with U.S. prosecutors on Friday dropping a bank fraud case against Meng, the daughter of Huawei Technologies founder Ren Zhengfei, made this possible.
The extradition drama has been a central source of discord between Beijing and Washington, with Chinese officials signaling that the case had to be dropped to help end a diplomatic stalemate.
Two Canadians detained by Chinese authorities just days after Meng’s arrest – Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor – were embraced on the tarmac by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after they landed in Calgary.
“You’ve shown incredible strength, resilience, and perseverance,” Trudeau said in a Twitter post with photos of him welcoming them home. “Know that Canadians across the country will continue to be here for you, just as they have been.”
“I’m finally back home,” Meng was quoted as saying. “The waiting in a foreign country was full of suffering. I was speechless the moment my feet touched Chinese soil.”
Huawei said in a statement that it “looked forward to seeing Ms. Meng returning home safely to be reunited with her family.” It said it would continue to defend itself against U.S. charges.
The agreement was not received favorably in the United States, with critics accusing President Biden of capitulating to China and one of its top companies at the centre of a global technology rivalry between the two countries.
“The release of Ms. Meng raises serious questions about President Biden’s ability and willingness to confront the threat posed by Huawei and the Chinese Communist Party,” said Marco Rubio.
Senator Jim Risch said in a statement that the deal was “a victory for one of the world’s most brutal and cruel regimes,” and would embolden the Communist Party “to use other foreign citizens as bargaining chips because it now knows hostage taking is a successful way to get what it wants.”