Meng Wanzhou says she no longer fears the unknown, despite experiencing “fear, pain, disappointment, helplessness, torment, and struggle” over the last year while “stuck” in Canada under house arrest and the Damocles sword of extradition to the U.S. hanging over her head.
“Right now, time seems to pass slowly,” the top executive of Chinese telecom giant Huawei writes in an open letter released on the anniversary of her detention in Canada.
“It is so slow that I have enough time to read a book from cover to cover. I can take the time to discuss minutiae with my colleagues or to carefully complete an oil painting.”
Meng was arrested by Canadian authorities at the Vancouver International on Dec. 1, 2018, on a U.S. arrest warrant, setting off a diplomatic crisis between Beijing and Ottawa.
Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, goes on to thank her supporters for their support and encouragement.
“In Chinese, the character for ‘light’ is composed of two parts: one that means fire, representing hope, and one that means people,” her letter reads.
“My dear friends, your warmth is a beacon that lights my way forward, and I appreciate it more than words can say.”
The U.S. accuses Meng, Huawei, a U.S. subsidiary and telecom equipment seller Skycom of committing bank fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The charges are linked to possible violations of U.S. sanctions against Iran. She faces up 30 years in jail if convicted.
Meng and Huawei deny all charges.
They argue that the Iran sanctions that Meng and Huawei are alleged to have violated were imposed by the U.S. unilaterally and thus don’t have the force of international law.
China is demanding Meng’s immediate release and has called on the U.S. to withdraw the extradition request and stop the “unreasonable suppression” of Chinese companies.
Canadian officials insist that there has been no political interference in her arrest and it will be up to the Canadian judicial system to decide whether she is extradited to the U.S. to face the charges against her.
The 47-year-old remains free on a $10-million bail and resides at one of the mansions in Vancouver she co-owns with her husband.
Her extradition hearings are expected to begin in January of 2019.
China has retaliated by arresting two Canadians, former diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor, accusing them of “endangering national security.”
Unlike Meng, who can take in the sights and “see the dense forests begin to slowly turn the hills around me to a deep crimson,” Kovrig and Spavor are confined to their cells. They are allowed regular visits by Canadian consular officials but don’t have access to their families or to their lawyers.