The Guardian • Issue #1982

Victory for China: Meng returns home

Meng Wanzhou, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Chinese tech company Huawei, has been released from detention after being held illegally in Canada for over 1000 days. Meng was arrested in late 2018 in Vancouver after being accused of violating US sanctions on Iran, which were not supported by the United Nations Security Council. The decision to keep her in Canada for supposedly misleading investment banking company HSBC about Huawei dealings with Iran, has been strongly opposed by the Chinese government, and recognised as a New Cold War tactic to bully China to submit to US sanctions against countries which refuse to fall in line. The release of Meng was only achieved through a great struggle, and has been celebrated in China and beyond as a remarkable victory in standing up against US hegemony. 


Meng proudly walked down the stairs of her charter flight into Shenzhen airport in a symbolic red dress and thanked the Chinese people for returning her to her motherland. She expressed how she has suffered over the years, but always felt the strength and warmth given by her government, including Chinese president Xi Jinping. The win has been multifaceted, with an extended court case which showed evidence of HSBC acting as an accomplice in a US political scheme, a call from Xi to US President Biden urging the US to resolve the incident, the return of two Canadian convicted criminals from China to Canada, and other diplomatic work. To illustrate the significance of Meng’s gratitude, it could be compared to a hypothetical situation of Australian Whistleblower Julian Assange thanking Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the people of Australia for returning him to his country. One can only dream.


The US is threatened by China’s refusal to blindly obey imposed unilateral sanctions on countries which have been most victimised by US hegemony. Huawei has built telecommunication systems in the DPRK, Cuba and Iran, significant services for the citizens to more effectively access digital technologies and communicate. These countries have already suffered at the hands of US imperialism, and have struggled to maintain some semblance of sovereignty. And regardless of what the West accuses them of, the strategy to deprive people from basic services should only be seen as an attack on innocent civilians. The so-called human rights abuses often attributed to these regions are soaked in US propaganda, military-funded think tanks, American exceptionalism and downright lies. China’s rare example of standing up to US coercion – and winning – has provided inspiration for these countries, as well as others who have been bullied by the US, such as Venezuela, Nicaragua, Russia, Bolivia, Zimbabwe, and Vietnam.

In reality, the US is threatened by China and Huawei offering alternative options for the Global South, and would prefer to see the Chinese citizens working in sweatshops and producing cheap goods as they did in the ’80s and ’90s, rather than participating as a prosperous nation which produces high quality tech products and services. There is no reason that the Chinese should be restricted from participating in emerging markets with exciting potential like their counterparts in the West.


There is also no basis in international law for the US to impose unilateral sanctions globally. The United Nations determines that sanctions can only be agreed upon by the UN Security Council, not by the US. However, the US has enacted a “might means right” kind of foreign policy since the fall of the Soviet Union, behaving as though international law does not apply to them. Those in the West often call this a “rules-based” world order, which essentially means that the US is free to pursue war, regime change, sanctions, blackmail, kidnapping, and extradition with no consequence, and if countries do not submit their interests and that of its allies, they will be punished. This kind of rhetoric can be found all over the US military-funded Australian Strategic Policy Institute website. For example, in an article by Lisa Sharland, she states that “the rules-based global order has underpinned Australia’s approach to defence and foreign policy over the past 70 years. But our investment in that order relies heavily on the leadership and engagement of the US”. The US is afraid of no longer being able to behave as the mafia of the world.


By China taking a firm stance against US hegemony and offering more alternatives for developing nations to participate in the global economy, the world is entering a new epoch. The trajectory towards a multi-polar world in which the decisions of the United Nations Charter must be followed and international law respected, can only lead to a more peaceful, democratic and balanced system of world governance. As Meng mentioned when describing her house arrest, “My life has been turned upside down […] it was a disruptive time for me […] [but] every cloud has a silver lining.” The return of Meng to her motherland means much more than victory for an individual, indeed a symbol of hope for billions across the Global South to develop and prosper free of US domination. 

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