Huawei executive returning as China releases Canadians

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China's government was eagerly anticipating the return of a top executive from global communications giant Huawei Technologies on Saturday following what...
SHENZHEN, China (AP) — amounted to a high-stakes prisoner swap with Canada and the U.S.

Meng Wanzhou, 49, Huawei's chief finance officer and the daughter of the company's founder, reached an agreement with U.S. federal prosecutors that called for fraud charges against her to be dismissed next year. As part of the deal, known as a deferred prosecution agreement, she accepted responsibility for misrepresenting the company's business dealings in Iran.

The same day, two Canadian citizens held by Beijing were were freed and flown back to Canada.

Meng was expected to arrive late Saturday in the southern technology hub of Shenzhen where Huawei is based.

Her pending return was a top item on the Chinese internet and on state broadcaster CCTV's midday news broadcast, with anchor Tian Liang saying Meng was returning home by dint of the "unremitting efforts of the Chinese government."

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian reposted on social media a report on Meng having left Canada, adding "Welcome home."

Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor were arrested in China in December 2018, shortly after Canada arrested Meng on a U.S. extradition request. China charged them with endangering national security and sentenced Kovrig to 11 years in prison, although their arrests were widely viewed as an attempt by Beijing to gain leverage in the Meng case.

"These two men have been through an unbelievably difficult ordeal. For the past 1,000 days, they have shown strength, perseverance and grace and we are all inspired by that," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

The case had caused a huge rift in China-Canada relations, with Beijing launching regular broadsides against the Canadian justice system and banning some imports from the country. In addition, two Canadians convicted in separate drug cases in China were sentenced to death in 2019. A third, Robert Schellenberg, received a 15-year sentence that was abruptly increased to…
Associated Press
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