Huawei's Number 2 pays US$ 7.5 million to be released on bail. She will have to stay in Vancouver wearing a GPS bracelet until her trial. Michael Kovrig, a former Canadian diplomat, is being held in China but nothing else is known of his fate. The trade war goes beyond Beijing and Washington and could cause serious harm, WTO warns.
Vancouver (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Cheers and tears followed a ruling by a Vancouver judge this morning to release on bail of Sabrina Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s number 2, who was arrested on 1st December on charges of dealings with Iran circumventing the US embargo. Although free, she could still be extradited to the United States to stand trial.
Judge William Ehrcke set bail at C$ 10 million (US$ 7.5 million) and ordered that Meng wear a GPS ankle bracelet, which notifies police of the wearer’s movements. She was told not to approach the city’s airport.
Meng’s husband Liu Xiaozong pumped his fist in victory even if their home was put up as bail collateral. Many of Meng’s Chinese supporters offered money or real estate to secure her release. The judge set an extradition hearing for 6 February 2019.
Beijing called on both Ottawa and Washington to immediately explain the reasons for Meng's detention, whilst the Chinese Embassy in Canada said in a statement that "such kind of actions [. . .] seriously harmed the human rights" of the person in question.
A few hours before the hearing, a former Canadian diplomat, Michael Kovrig, who is now a consultant for the International Crisis Group in China, went missing in Beijing.
“Michael was detained on Monday night in Beijing by the Beijing Bureau of Chinese State Security,” the group said in a statement.
Coming nine days after Sabrina Meng's arrest, Kovrig’s detention seems to be China’s tough response to the arrest of the Chinese businesswoman in Canada.
This tit-for-tat could widen the rift between China and the United States and Canada, which are partly on side on economic sanctions against Chinese products.
Meanwhile, the ongoing trade war worries World Trade Organisation (WTO), which warned that its members have applied 137 new trade-restrictive measures during the year that ended in October, up from 108.
These trade-restrictive measures amount to US$ 588 billion, more than seven times larger than a year ago.
“This proliferation of trade restrictive measures and the uncertainty created by such actions could place economic recovery in jeopardy,” said WTO director general Roberto Azevedo.