TORONTO (Reuters) – Huawei's Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou, described her house arrest in Vancouver as "confined to a limited space" even though she had spent the past six months in a six-bedroom, multi-million dollar Canadian home.
FILE PHOTO: Meng Wanzhou, Chief Financial Officer of Huawei, leaves her family home in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on May 8, 2019. REUTERS / Lindsey Wasson
Meng, 47, has access to top lawyers and relocates relatively freely to Vancouver, albeit with restrictions, and her comments drew a direct comparison between her life in house arrest and the two Canadians living in China for a similar period of time were held in solitary confinement.
Meng, daughter of billionaire Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, Ren Zhengfei, was arrested at Vancouver airport in December for a US arrest warrant and is fighting extradition on charges that she plotted that global banks would be over Huawei's relationship with a company operating in Iran.
North Korea-based businessman Michael Spavor and former diplomat Michael Kovrig were arrested separately in December, shortly after Canada arrested Meng. Both were officially arrested earlier this month on charges of state secrets, but it was unclear whether they were transferred to another facility where they might receive better treatment.
"The difference between the detention conditions of Madame Meng and the two Canadians will simply jump off the page," said Paul Evans, professor at the University of British Columbia, who specializes in relations between China and Canada.
He added that the contrast could offend Canadians, who compare Meng's states with those of Kovrig and Spavor.
The two Canadians have no access to lawyers or bail, are questioned every morning, afternoon and evening and, according to Canadian diplomats, held in a room where the light can not be turned off at night. China has only said that the legal rights of both men are fully guaranteed.
Meanwhile, Meng lived in her home in Vancouver, which has six bedrooms and five bathrooms, after depositing a $ 10 million bail in December.
"Although I was physically confined to a very limited space during my time in Vancouver, my inner self has never felt so colorful and powerful," Meng wrote in the letter published in the Xinsheng community last Monday was an internal forum for the 188,000 Huawei employees.
She praised staff for her concern and said there were employees "staying awake all night to pursue my case in distant time zones" In one of Canada's most exclusive neighborhoods, you'll find a larger house with a value of 13, 3 million CAD. Meng's lawyers said in court that the house would be ready after the refurbishment until May 11, but it was not immediately clear if Meng had already moved in.
"From a Tony to a Tony neighborhood," Evans said.
Meng arrived for the last hearing in a Chevy SUV and wore a sleek dress with a black and gray full length weave pattern.
But in the case of the two Canadians, it was not even clear where they were being held. The diplomats they met were taken to a police station and received there instead of being taken to the actual location of their detention.
Details of Luxmore Realty Mengs new residence on Matthews Street as a 8,170-square-foot, seven-bedroom, eight-bath home. Meng's larger mansion is fully fenced, which improves security, said Scot Filer, CEO of Lions Gate, the security firm for Meng, in a lawsuit.
The house has "controlled access for pedestrians and vehicles" and has a clear distinction between public and private space, which Filer cites as the reason for Meng's move to the new house near the Chinese Embassy.
China's courts are strictly controlled by the Communist Party and serve its political purposes. Under Chinese law, suspects of crimes such as Kovrig and Spavor can be held incommunicado without charge for six months, and it may take more than a year for the case to go to court.
Reporting by Tyler Choi; Additional reporting by Karen Freifeld in New York, Michael Martina and Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Writing by Denny Thomas; Edited by Lisa Shumaker