Huawei’s Meng gets bail, while Canada waits for news of former diplomat reportedly held in China

Chinese police officers (C) stand guard outside the Canadian embassy in Beijing, as a paramilitary police officer walks his bicycle on December 10, 2018. – China on December 10 protested Canada’s ‘inhumane’ treatment of an executive of telecom giant Huawei who is being held on a US extradition bid, following reports she was not getting sufficient medical care. GREG BAKER/AFP/Getty Images
  • Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei’s founder and its CFO, has been granted bail by a Canadian court.
  • Meng will go into private custody, as Canada awaits news of Michael Kovrig a former top diplomat, reportedly detained in China.
  • Meng’s release was welcomed with applause in the British Colombian court, but her release on bail may not entirely remove the rot at the heart of deteriorating China-US relations.
  • A judge in British Columbia has set bail at $US7.4 million,according to the BBC.
  • Meng, known as Sabrina, was arrested by Canadian authorities at the behest of Washington, following her alleged involvement in over five years of Iran sanction violations.
  • While there is no official link connecting Kovrig’s predicament with Meng’s, China can lay claim to a rich history of tit-for-tat hostage diplomacy.

The Canadian court where Huawei’s Sabrina Meng Wanzhou was just granted bail erupted into spontaneous applause when the judge handed down his decision to release Meng into private custody,Reuters reports.

On the third day of tense bail hearings in Vancouver, Meng, also known as Sabrina and previously as Cathy, was granted bail while she awaits a hearing for extradition to the US.

The news comes as Canada awaits to hear the fate of a former diplomat, reportedly taken in Beijing on Monday night.

Michael Kovrig of the International Crisis Group, was detained Monday “during one of his regular visits to the city,” an anonymous source told Reuters.

Tears and hugs

Meng the chief financial officer of Chinese telecom company Huawei and the daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei, has been at the center of a global maelstrom after she was arrested by Canadian authorities in Vancouver airport on December 1, infuriating Chinese netizens and roiling global financial markets.

Meng is staring down US fraud charges following her alleged involvement in over five years of Iran sanction violations. US prosecutors allege she used Skycom a subsidiary of Huawei to evade sanctions, and that she misled multinational banks about it.

Supreme Court Justice William Ehrcke in British Columbia set bail at $US7.4 million (C$10m including C$7m in cash), the BBC reported.

Meng shed tears and embraced her legal team as the Vancouver court reportedly burst into applause as Justice Ehrcke granted the bail that looked ominously distant on Monday.

However, while news of the bail will be met with relief among global markets and advocates of US-China free trade, the daughter of Ren Zhengfei faces strict conditions that include remaining in Canada under strict electronic monitoring and with a personal security detail.

She was ordered to reappear in court on February 6, according to Reuters.

Read more:China is furious and global markets are in an uproar as the daughter of one of the country’s richest men languishes in a Canadian jail.

Huawei watchers
VANCOUVER, BC – DECEMBER 07: Observers stand outside the B.C. Supreme Courthouse as they wait for news at the bail hearing for Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on December 7, 2018 in Vancouver, Canada. Wanzhou was detained by border officials in Vancouver December 1 while changing flights en route to Mexico. Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

Former Canadian diplomat detained

An already tense situation was starting to escalate on Tuesday when reports emerged that a former Canadian diplomat and senior advisor for a leading global NGO had been detained by China.

The International Crisis Group said in a statement that it was aware its North East Asia Senior Adviser Michael Kovrig had been detained.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also acknowledged that his government knew very well what was happening, but refused to connect Kovrig’s detention with Meng, according to Canadian broadcaster CBC.

“Obviously we are aware of the situation of a Canadian detained in China,” Trudeau said. “We have been in direct contact with the Chinese diplomats and representatives. We are engaged on the file, which we take very seriously.”

One former Canadian politician, Bob Rae, was less diplomatic on Twitter. “It’s called repression and retaliation,” Rae posted, Tuesday morning.

China warned that Canada would be facing “grave consequences” if Meng was not released.