Huawei finance chief Meng Wanzhou arrested in Canada

Asian markets tumble, China tech hit after Huawei arrest

Canada's arrest of Huawei Technologies' chief financial officer in Vancouver is fuelling concern that Canadian business people in China are at risk of being arrested in retaliation.

The detention of Ms Meng threatens to scuttle the temporary detente reached by US President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the G20 talks in Argentina to halt new trade tariffs for 90 days as the two countries negotiate.

Meng was arrested in Vancouver on Saturday and is being sought for extradition by the U.S. US authorities have not disclosed circumstances surrounding Meng's arrest, but a person familiar with the matter told Reuters the arrest relates to violations of USA trade sanctions.

On Thursday, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs Geng Shuang responded to news of her arrest, demanding clarification regarding the reason for her arrest, as well as her immediate release.

The probe of Huawei is similar to one that threatened the survival of China's ZTE, which pleaded guilty in 2017 to violating United States laws that restrict the sale of American-made technology to Iran.

A profile of Huawei's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou is displayed on a Huawei computer at a store in Beijing on December 6, 2018. "The company believes the Canadian and U.S. legal systems will ultimately reach a just conclusion", Huawei said. "Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations where it operates, including applicable export control and sanction laws and regulations of the UN, US and European Union", the firm said in a statement.

Huawei, China's largest maker of smartphones and telecommunications equipment, has been swept up in concerns that products made by Chinese technology companies are avenues for surveillance by the country's intelligence agencies.

The arrest is believed to be related to alleged violations of U.S. sanctions though there has been no official statement from Washington.

The Israeli actress Gal Gadot also became the company's US brand ambassador for its Mate 10 Pro smartphone, an announcement that came after AT&T pulled out of a deal to sell Huawei's phones.

Huawei said Ms Meng, the daughter of founder Ren Zhengfei, was detained while transferring between flights.

Huawei Technologies, launched in 1987 in Shenzhen China, has been the largest telecommunication equipment producer in the world since 2012.

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China has demanded her release, calling the arrest a human rights violation.

The U.S. almost put another large Chinese firm, ZTE, out of business earlier this year when it banned the company from using U.S. technology.

The U.S. sees Huawei and smaller Chinese tech suppliers as possible fronts for espionage, and as commercial competition. "They will retaliate and China will take hostages", he said.

Stock markets tumbled on the news, fearing renewed U.S.

Geng said the US and Canada haven't provided reasons for Meng's detention.

Huawei has repeatedly denied the insinuation and says it's owned by Ren and its own employees.

Asked whether he had spoken to the Chinese premier or the ambassador, Trudeau said he had had no conversations with worldwide counterparts about the case.

"I believe that China's government will use maximum force to fight for freedom and justice for Meng Wanzhou".

USA national security adviser John Bolton says in an interview with NPR that he knew in advance of the pending arrest in Canada of an executive for a Chinese tech company. A person familiar with the matter told Reuters she faces extradition on charges related to USA sanctions violations. ZTE got off with paying a $US1 billion fine, changing its board and management and agreeing to let American regulators monitor its operations.

Senator Ben Sasse earlier linked Meng's arrest to United States sanctions on Iran, which Trump is trying to squeeze economically after withdrawing from a denuclearization deal.

James McGregor, the greater China chairman of the public relations firm APCO, likens the situation to what it would be like if Chinese law enforcement suddenly arrested a relative of Apple CEO Tim Cook or Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

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