Minitrue: Do Not Report on Arrest of Huawei CFO

Minitrue: Do Not Report on Arrest of Huawei CFO

The following censorship instructions, issued to the media by government authorities, have been leaked and distributed online. The name of the issuing body has been omitted to protect the source.

All websites: Regarding the detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, other than authoritative reports from CCTV, People’s Daily, Xinhua, the Foreign Ministry, etc, do not republish, independently gather news, use self media, or publicize via screen pop-ups. Strictly manage comments. (December 8, 2018) [Chinese]

Meng is currently undergoing a bail hearing in Vancouver after being detained December 1 while transiting at the airport there. Canadian officials arrested Meng at the request of authorities in New York, who are now asking for her extradition on fraud charges. At her hearing on Friday, Meng was accused of providing misleading information about the relationship between Huawei and SkyCom, a Hong Kong-based company which conducted business in Iran in violation of U.S.-imposed sanctions. Meng allegedly told financial institutions that the two companies were entirely separate, while U.S. authorities allege SkyCom is a subsidiary of Huawei. The court in Vancouver will determine whether Meng should be granted bail; her lawyers have asked for her monitored release. For continuing updates on the hearing throughout the day, see reporting by Michael Mui, Perrin Grauer, and Joanna Chiu of The Star Vancouver.

The Chinese government has responded to Meng’s arrest with outrage. Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng called both Canadian Ambassador John McCallum and U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad in for meetings to reprimand them over the arrest. Le issued a statement calling the arrest “unreasonable, unconscionable, and vile in nature.” From Christopher Bodeen of AP:

Le told McCallum that Meng’s detention at the request of the United States while transferring flights in Vancouver was a “severe violation” of her “legitimate rights and interests.”

“Such a move ignores the law and is unreasonable, unconscionable, and vile in nature,” Le said in the statement.

“China strongly urges the Canadian side to immediately release the detained Huawei executive … or face grave consequences that the Canadian side should be held accountable for,” Le said.

[…] Roland Paris, a former foreign policy adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said that Chinese pressure on the Canadian government won’t work.

“Perhaps because the Chinese state controls its judicial system, Beijing sometimes has difficulty understanding or believing that courts can be independent in a rule-of-law country. There’s no point in pressuring the Canadian government. Judges will decide,” Paris tweeted in response to the comments from Beijing. [Source]

Official media has also warned of “serious consequences” for Canada if Meng is not released, while officials for both China and the U.S. have stated they will keep trade issues separate from the ongoing legal case as both sides proceed with a negotiated truce in the trade war. From Keith Bradsher and Raymond Zhong at The New York Times:

But at a high-level conference on Sunday at Tsinghua University in Beijing that included four Nobel laureates in economics from the United States, a senior adviser to the Chinese leadership opened his remarks by praising the two countries’ broader economic relationship and avoiding any mention of the arrest.

“The economies of China and the United States are integrated,” said the adviser, Ma Jianting, a vice president of the Development Research Council, the policy advisory unit of China’s cabinet. “There is no parting of the ways.”

Mr. Ma’s remarks were the latest of many signs that the Chinese government was trying to compartmentalize the Huawei issue, while still taking an assertive enough stance to satisfy nationalistic anger in China.

[…] Mr. Lighthizer [U.S. trade representative] also said that the trade talks should not be affected by the arrest of Ms. Meng. “This is a criminal justice matter. It is totally separate from anything that I work on or anything that the trade policy people in the administration work on.” [Source]

The provincial government of British Columbia has canceled a planned trade mission to China due to the arrest. Meanwhile, in Beijing, protesters have called for the release of Meng. From Holmes Chan of the Hong Kong Free Press:

On Sunday, the pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions (FTU) held a protest outside the US consulate in Central, demanding Meng’s release.

FTU’s Michael Luk and Bill Tang led a crowd of about 40 people, who chanted slogans such as “down with US hegemony” and “America is finished when Huawei gets 5G.”

[…] One protester wore a Donald Trump plastic mask, while another held a figure of Justin Trudeau depicting him as America’s puppet. [Source]

A separate propaganda directive prohibited reporting on China’s developing 5G telecommunications network. Huawei has been a primary mover behind 5G development in China and globally.

真Since directives are sometimes communicated orally to journalists and editors, who then leak them online, the wording published here may not be exact. Some instructions are issued by local authorities or to specific sectors, and may not apply universally across China. The date given may indicate when the directive was leaked, rather than when it was issued. CDT does its utmost to verify dates and wording, but also takes precautions to protect the source. See CDT’s collection of Directives from the Ministry of Truth


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