Chinese-Canadian group defends detained Huawei CFO
'We are in a very difficult situation' says group member
Some members of Vancouver's Chinese community are rallying in support of Meng Wanzhou, the embattled chief financial officer and deputy chair of the board for the Chinese tech giant Huawei.
Meng, 46, was arrested in Vancouver last Saturday and is being sought for extradition by the United States.
On Friday, Crown counsel told a bail hearing in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver that Meng is "charged with conspiracy to defraud multiple international institutions," with each charge carrying a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
In a hastily pulled together press conference in Richmond, B.C., a small group calling itself the United Association of Women and Children in Canada spoke — often through a translator — in Meng's defence.
The group did not describe the nature of what it does, and says it is not associated with the Chinese government.
The chair of the group, Mei Han Dong said that because Meng is a Chinese citizen, she should be governed by Chinese law.
"We believe that the law of the United States cannot override international law," she said.
"We hope this will stop. This is supposed to be a serious matter but looks like a joke between the two countries."
Han Dong said the Chinese government was "enraged" to hear that Meng had been handcuffed upon her arrest.
"We demand that she be treated fairly and equally," she said.
'A very difficult association'
On Friday, a lawyer acting for Canada's attorney-general said Meng allegedly used an unofficial company called Skycom to access the Iranian market between 2009 and 2014 — dealings that would be in violation of U.S. sanctions.
Meng is also accused of making public misrepresentations about Skycom, saying it was separate from Huawei, when the U.S. contends the companies were one and the same.
The case has rattled international stock markets, in fear Meng's arrest would derail planned trade talks — and a potential trade truce — between China and the U.S., the world's two largest economies.
Hong Guo, a legal consultant for the association, said the incident represents "much more than a legal matter."
"We are in a very difficult situation, I think Canada is a friend of China and we would like to do business with China and to keep a good relationship with Chinese businesses."
The bail hearing is set to resume Monday in Vancouver at 10 a.m. PT.