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Huawei CFO Meng wanted to quit job just before arrest: Ren Zhengfei



Meng Wanzhou, Executive Board Director of the Chinese technology giant Huawei, attends a session of the VTB Capital Investment Forum "Russia Calling!" in Moscow, Russia October 2, 2014.

Alexander Bibik | Reuters

Meng Wanzhou, Executive Board Director of the Chinese technology giant Huawei, attends a session of the VTB Capital Investment Forum “Russia Calling!” in Moscow, Russia October 2, 2014.

Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou had been looking for another job when she was arrested in Canada last December on a U.S. warrant, the firm’s founder said in an interview aired on Thursday.

Ren Zhengfei, who is Meng’s father, also told Canada’s CTV that the two had become closer since she was detained in Vancouver on Dec. 1 last year.

The United States wants Meng to be extradited to face charges that she engaged in bank and wire fraud in violation of American sanctions against Iran. She denies wrongdoing.

“One month before that arrest, she wanted to resign and find a job elsewhere. She was not happy working here but after being arrested this matter improved our relationship and now she understands how difficult life can be,” Ren told CTV.

“In the past she had a smooth path. She couldn’t take the setbacks very well … you have to suffer a lot before becoming a hero and if you don’t have scars, you won’t have tough skin,” he added in comments that were translated into English.

Relations between Canada and China deteriorated sharply after Meng’s arrest. China has arrested two Canadians on national security grounds and retried another citizen who had already been convicted on drugs charges, this time sentencing him to death.

“Meng Wanzhou has committed no crime. She didn’t violate any Canadian rules and I think both Canada and Huawei are victims because this case hurts people in both countries and bilateral relations also suffered setbacks,” said Ren.

He also said he had previously only communicated infrequently with Meng, given how busy the two were.

“Now, every other day we have phone calls, we shoot the breeze, tell jokes, I tell her some anecdote I read on the internet. The case in Canada made my bonds deeper with my daughter,” he said.

Huawei is a major manufacturer of equipment for 5G, the latest generation of cellular mobile communications. Canada is studying whether the firm will be able to bid for 5G contracts, given concerns about how secure the technology is.

Washington said last month that it would not be able to partner with or share information with countries that adopt Huawei systems.

“Meng Wanzhou is an individual case and I don’t think it should influence in any way the relationship Canada has with Huawei,” said Ren.

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US says signs Syria’s Assad regime may be using chemical weapons



An affected baby receives medical treatment after Assad regime forces conduct an allegedly poisonous gas attack on Sakba and Hammuriye districts of Eastern Ghouta, in Damascus, Syria on March 07, 2018.

Dia Al Din Samout | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The United States sees signs the Syrian government may be using chemical weapons, including an alleged chlorine attack on Sunday in northwest Syria, the State Department said on Tuesday, warning that Washington and its allies would respond “quickly and appropriately” if this were proven.

“Unfortunately, we continue to see signs that the Assad regime may be renewing its use of chemical weapons, including an alleged chlorine attack in northwest Syria on the morning of May 19, ” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.

“We are still gathering information on this incident, but we repeat our warning that if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons, the United States and our allies will respond quickly and appropriately,” she said.

Ortagus said the alleged attack was part of a violent campaign by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces violating a ceasefire that has protected several million civilians in the greater Idlib area.

“The regime’s attacks against the communities of northwest Syria must end,” the statement said. “The United States reiterates its warning, first issued by President Trump in September 2018, that an attack against the Idlib de-escalation zone would be a reckless escalation that threatens to destabilize the region.”

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has twice bombed Syria over Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons, in April 2017 and April 2018. In September, a senior U.S. official said there was evidence showing chemical weapons were being prepared by Syrian government forces in Idlib, the last major rebel stronghold in the country.

The State Department statement accused Russia and Assad’s forces of “a continuing disinformation campaign … to create the false narrative that others are to blame for chemical weapons attacks.”

“The facts, however, are clear,” the statement said. The Assad regime itself has conducted almost all verified chemical weapons attacks that have taken place in Syria — a conclusion the United Nations has reached over and over again.”

A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the Syrian government had a history of resorting to chemical weapons when fighting intensified. The official, however, was not aware of any confirmation of what substance was allegedly used, if at all, and said the U.S. government was still gathering information.

There was no immediate comment from the Syrian government on the U.S. statement.

In March, Syrian state media cited a hospital in government-held Hama as saying 21 people suffered choking symptoms from poison gas after rebels shelled a village.

In January, U.S. national security adviser John Bolton warned the Syrian government against using chemical weapons again. 

“There is absolutely no change in the U.S. position against the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime and absolutely no change in our position that any use of chemical weapons would be met by a very strong response, as we’ve done twice before,” Bolton said at the time. 

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Chinese official in Hong Kong urges action on extradition bills



A woman holds a Chinese-language sign saying “withdraw the evil law” at a protest outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on Saturday, May 4, 2019, as local lawmakers debated a proposal to allow extraditions to mainland China.

Kelly Olsen | CNBC

A Chinese official in Hong Kong is urging the quick passage of legal measures to allow fugitives to be transferred to the mainland – a controversial proposal that is mired in political gridlock and opposed by business groups.

The Hong Kong government has asked the city’s Legislative Council to approve extraditions to countries and regions with which it has no such agreements, including mainland China.

But the plan has sparked unease and protests in the territory of 7.4 million people – a former British colony that since July 1, 1997 has been a semi-autonomous region of China with its own legal system.

Local business and law groups, the U.S. government and human rights organizations have expressed concern that the plan could erode Hong Kong’s local autonomy, make it a less attractive place to do business and ensnare its residents in China’s legal system. Demonstrators have taken to the streets.

But Song Ruan, deputy commissioner for the Chinese foreign ministry office in Hong Kong, sought Tuesday to offer reassurance that the city has nothing to fear, telling reporters that China “respects the jurisdiction” of the local government.

Still, he suggested patience is running out, stressing it is long past time to act as nearly 22 years have passed since Hong Kong’s reversion to China and the territory has fugitive transfer facilities with a number of countries and regions.

“Nevertheless, it has no such arrangements with the mainland, Macau and Taiwan, ” Song said.

Lawmakers in favor of and opposed to the changes have locked horns in the legislature over how to proceed. Tempers have flared with debate descending into a melee earlier this month.

‘Gossip making’

The local government, led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, has said the measures are necessary to close a legal “loophole” whereby accused fugitives cannot be sent to certain jurisdictions.

The government cites a murder allegedly committed by a Hong Kong man in Taiwan last year as the impetus for the proposed changes. He returned to Hong Kong but can’t currently be extradited to Taiwan.

It says that safeguards, such as no extraditions for political offenses and veto power over any court-approved extraditions by the chief executive, will prevent abuses.

It has also said no extraditions can take place for crimes that carry the death penalty.

Still, the Hong Kong International Chamber of Commerce wrote to lawmakers on May 8 to raise concern, citing an “adverse impact on Hong Kong as a place to live and work, and to continue growing as a major international business center attracting overseas investment.”

Song, the foreign ministry official, acknowledged the existence of local apprehension.

“At present we can see there is some kind of worry and fear circulating in Hong Kong society,” he said.

But he attributed it to “gossip making” by opposition lawmakers who he accused of stoking “panic” over the proposal.

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China’s GAC Motor postpones its US launch as trade war drags on



Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

GAC Motor, one of China’s largest carmakers, has postponed its launch in the U.S. because of the ongoing trade war between the world’s two-largest economies, a company executive said Tuesday.

The automaker, headquartered in Guangzhou in southern China, said its entrance into the U.S., which was anticipated for this year, will be postponed.

“The current relationship between the U.S. and China, the trade war, the relationship is uncertain” said Hebin Zeng, president of international at GAC Motor. “We postponed the plan to enter the North American market.”

Zeng declined to give a specific timeline on when GAC could enter the U.S.

“In terms of when we will go into the market, we will have further discussions depending on the changes of circumstances,” he said.

Geely is the only Chinese carmaker that sells in the U.S. through the Volvo Car brand that it owns.

GAC has been expanding into several international markets, particularly in the Middle East.

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