BEIJING (REUTERS, AFP) - The United States is trying to "stifle" Chinese technology company Huawei and curb its global expansion with the arrest of a top executive, Chinese state media said on Friday (Dec 7).
Huawei Technologies Co's chief financial officer, Ms Meng Wanzhou, the 46-year-old daughter of the company's founder, was detained in Canada last Saturday (Dec 1), the same day US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping dined together at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires.
Mr Trump did not know about plans to arrest a top executive at the Chinese telecoms giant in Canada, two US officials said on Thursday, in an apparent attempt to stop the incident from impeding crucial trade talks with Beijing.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also sought to distance himself from the arrest, saying the decision was made "without any political involvement or interference".
China has demanded Ms Meng's immediate release, and complained that neither Canada nor the US have given a reason for the arrest.
The official China Daily said in an editorial there was still "no telling" on what grounds Ms Meng had been detained and that it seemed to be part of US plans to pressure its allies not to use Huawei goods.
"But one thing that is undoubtedly true and proven is the US is trying to do whatever it can to contain Huawei's expansion in the world simply because the company is the point man for China's competitive technology companies," it said.
"What is badly needed for the development of China-US ties is political trust. Yet Washington, in persuading and pressuring its allies to shun cooperation with Huawei, has helped erode that political trust," the English-language paper said.
Influential tabloid the Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily, said the US was "resorting to a despicable rogue's approach, as it cannot stop Huawei's 5G advance in the market".
The US was abusing "legal procedure to stifle Huawei", it said.
"Despite incomplete information about the incident, the US move obviously goes against the consensus reached between the heads of state of China and the US in Argentina," the paper wrote.
"The incident shows that China faces a complicated competition with the US. Beijing needs determination and wisdom to safeguard its own interests," it said.
The Huawei executive’s arrest follows a US probe into the company’s alleged violations of Iran sanctions. Earlier this year, another Chinese tech firm ZTE nearly collapsed after Washington banned US companies from selling crucial hardware and software components to it for seven years, though the ban was lifted after it agreed to pay a US$1 billion fine.
Chinese netizens have criticised Ms Meng’s arrest on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like platform, where online trolls sometimes deliberately incite nationalist fervour or pro-government stances.
Some users viewed the incident as part of the trade war – and a broader conspiracy to keep down China’s technological development.
“One of the most important reasons why the US started the trade war was to attack China’s technology sector and its ‘Made in China 2025’ plan,” wrote one Weibo user. The goal is to keep China stuck in “low-end industries and force China into the middle income trap.”
The detention of Ms Meng appears to be a “game of politics”, wrote another user.