Source:Global Times

getUrls?link=1f975e004f0dde882007b9e528e04943 - The case of Meng Wanzhou gives three warnings to overseas Chinese companies

Meng Wanzhou (Data source:CCTV News Client)

In early December 2018, while transiting through Vancouver, Meng Wanzhou was arrested by the Canadian Border Services Agency at the request of the US FBI for mutual assistance. The United States accused Meng Wanzhou of financial fraud. The key evidence came from a PPT obtained after HSBC executives met with Meng Wanzhou in 2013.

According to a CCTV reporter in Canada, evidence shows that Meng Wanzhou did not conceal the facts from HSBC, claiming that HSBC, the victim of the “fraud,” had no losses, and did not prosecute Huawei and Meng Wanzhou, the United States It did not punish HSBC either. Instead, the United States bypassed HSBC and targeted Huawei and Meng Wanzhou, who had no direct relationship with the United States. Therefore, the Meng Wanzhou case is a political case planned by the United States. HSBC cooperated with the United States to sell customers and framed Meng Wanzhou.

The impact of Meng Wanzhou’s case has transcended the judicial level and has aroused global attention. From the public evidence of the case and the information disclosed by the media, there are many risks before and after Meng Wanzhou’s arrest, which poses a serious threat to China’s going to sea. For enterprises, it has a strong warning significance:

First, the United States has a long history. According to public evidence, the layout of the Meng Wanzhou case in the United States may have started from 2012 to 2013. However, until Meng Wanzhou was arrested, Huawei did not know why. As one of the earliest Chinese companies to go overseas, Huawei has been raging overseas for many years. It still faces such a degree of information asymmetry, exposing its lack of sensitivity in information early warning. Are other companies, including some of our government departments, facing the same risks?

The second is the wide reach of the US investigation. According to media public reports, at the end of 2012, HSBC signed an extension agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice due to its own violations. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI designated a US financial investigation company to enter HSBC. According to John Flint, the former chief executive of HSBC,”there are 200 to 400 US surveillance personnel in the bank at any time, and they can view all the bank’s information.” And HSBC’s main customers are in China. During the period when the US is stationed in the United States, besides Huawei, are there any information about Chinese government agencies and other companies under US surveillance? We need to be vigilant against the US indirectly monitoring Chinese companies through foreign banks and other third-party institutions.

The third is that foreign banks may cooperate with the US long-arm jurisdiction at the expense of Chinese companies. The key evidence in the Meng Wanzhou case comes from HSBC, a foreign bank that Huawei has cooperated with for many years in the process of going overseas. According to the British Financial Times, HSBC was targeted by the US Department of Justice and agreed to”cooperate” with the US Department of Justice investigations in other cases in order to escape punishment. Huawei became a victim of this”cooperation”. According to Chinese media reports, in 2013, an HSBC executive voluntarily invited Meng Wanzhou to Hong Kong to record the conversation. Afterwards, he specially asked for PPT and other documents that Huawei used to prove that he had no non-compliance, and transferred it to the United States. , And ended the cooperative relationship with Huawei without any explanation. HSBC argues that it is impossible to resist the request and investigation of the US Department of Justice, which also means that at a critical moment, foreign banks may be forced to sacrifice Chinese customers at any time under the”long-arm jurisdiction” of the United States.

Meng Wanzhou has been under house arrest in Canada for more than 600 days. The United States continues to suppress Chinese companies. It can be described as ubiquitous and may seek breakthroughs from foreign partners of Chinese companies. Faced with these risks, how can we prevent them?

In order to cooperate with the long-arm jurisdiction of the United States in conducting secret investigations of Chinese companies, foreign banks transferred personnel and data located in China to overseas without the permission of the Chinese government. Some legal persons pointed out that if this move occurs in 2018 Years later, may be suspected of violating the”International Criminal Judicial Assistance Law of the People’s Republic of China.” In response to the US sanctions on TikTok, the Ministry of Commerce of China updated its export restriction rules on August 28, adjusted and released the”China’s Export Prohibited and Restricted Technology Catalog”, which is a strong response to US sanctions and timely protection of Chinese technology applications. We also need to improve more laws and regulations to plug information security loopholes.

For companies going overseas, when choosing financial partners, they should learn Huawei’s lessons. First, do due diligence and be vigilant against financial institutions that are in international trouble or are subject to international sanctions; For businesses in sensitive countries and regions, state-owned banks can be prioritized to improve financial security awareness.

Meng Wanzhou is still under official control in Canada and has lost a certain degree of personal freedom. Huawei insists on using legal means to prove Meng Wanzhou’s innocence and safeguard his rights. At the latest hearing on August 17th, before and after lawyer Meng Wanzhou’s request to publicly arrest Meng Wanzhou, relevant Canadian and U.S. departments were planning and communicating relevant documents during the arrest. These documents will further reveal their opinions about Meng Wanzhou. What kind of infringements have been made to the charter rights of Canada, but the Canadian government has covered up a lot of content on the grounds of sensitive information and endangering national security.

The Meng Wanzhou case is highly politicized by the United States, and obviously it cannot be solved by Huawei alone. On August 20th, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated its position on the Meng Wanzhou case, saying that the Meng Wanzhou incident was a serious political incident through and through. It fully exposed the political plot of the United States to suppress Chinese high-tech companies and Huawei, and emphasized the Chinese government’s defense of the country. The determination of the legitimate rights and interests of citizens and enterprises is unwavering. Recently, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi also expressed China’s attitude when meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister Shang Pengfei. He hoped that Canada would show the style of an independent country and give Chinese citizen Meng Wanzhou fairness. (The author is Wei Jianguo, the former vice minister of the Ministry of Commerce and the vice chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges)