Canada’s Chinese community voices support for Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou

Global Business

Huawei CFO Meng Wangzhou has drawn strong support from Vancouver’s large Chinese community. Many members of that community packed a courtroom earlier, to observe Meng’s bail hearing. Many also expressed their opinions on a local radio show.

CGTN’s Hendrik Sybrandy reports.

Sunny Chan hosts an afternoon Cantonese dialect radio talk show in Vancouver. In his 40+ years in journalism, he’s never seen an issue draw as much interest as the Meng Wangzhou case.

 “In our Chinese community, in greater Vancouver, everybody, every Chinese talked about it,” said Chan, a AM1320 radio host. “So we think it is a good topic to discuss.”

It’s what drew many local residents of Chinese background to the Vancouver courthouse this week. Many here, as well as Chan and most of his callers are angry about Meng’s arrest and detention.

 “She’s not a serious criminal,” Chan said. “She’s just a suspect. Why Canada treat her in such ways?”

One person called her apprehension Dec 1 an ambush. She was changing planes from Hong Kong on the way to Mexico when she was taken into custody. Many felt her subsequent 10-day detention only added insult to injury.

“We think Ms. Meng should be released immediately,” said Ada Yu, a Vancouver resident. “We think it’s a severe violation of China citizens’ rights and interests.”

Yu said a woman of Meng’s stature is hardly a flight risk.

 “She’s a great mother and she’s a successful businesswoman,” Yu said. “I don’t think she would do that.”

Until now, Meng lived a very low-profile life in the Dunbar neighborhood of Vancouver for a few weeks each summer. But most neighbors certainly knew of her position as Chief Financial Officer at Huawei Technologies.

“We are proud of Huawei,” said one neighbor during her morning walk. “It’s a big company.”

Some see the incident as political – tied to the current trade dispute between the U.S. and China—and believe Canada should not be involved.

“It’s not the Canadian’s business, it’s America’s,” said one protester at the courthouse. “Why should we do the dirty job for the Americans?”

Chan said Canada should have considered its interests first and he’s hopeful the Meng case will see a timely resolution.

“I do think that it is only a bargaining chip the United States sends to China,” Chan said. “We think the coming two months maybe they can solve the problem.”

After devoting three entire shows to the topic, Chan has moved on to other issues for the time being, in part to let his listeners process what’s happened. But he’s more than ready to take it up again because, he said, he and his audience have definitely not forgotten.

Sourabh Gupta with analysis on China-Canada relations

CGTN’s Mike Walter talks with Sourabh Gupta, from the Institute for China-American Studies, about the rising tensions between China and Canada.