Biden hit for bowing to Beijing over Meng deal

The agreement that sent a top Huawei executive home and two Canadians back to their country has opened US President Joe Biden to criticism from Washington's China hawks, who argue his administration is capitulating to Beijing. Huawei chief financial officer Sabrina Meng Wanzhou arrived in China,...

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Monday, September 27, 2021

The agreement that sent a top Huawei executive home and two Canadians back to their country has opened US President Joe Biden to criticism from Washington's China hawks, who argue his administration is capitulating to Beijing.

Huawei chief financial officer Sabrina Meng Wanzhou arrived in China, ending her near three-year US extradition fight, the same day diplomat Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor - detained by Beijing for more than 1,000 days - returned home. This potentially paves the way for improved ties between China and the two Western allies.

But some Republican senators swiftly condemned Meng's release and urged the White House to address the US Congress on the issue.

"The release of Ms Meng raises serious questions about President Biden's ability and willingness to confront the threat posed by Huawei and the Chinese Communist Party," said Marco Rubio.

Jim Risch said the deal would embolden the Communist Party "to use other foreign citizens as bargaining chips because it now knows hostage taking is a successful way to get what it wants."

The deal was also criticized by Bill Hagerty, who said it "could be more appeasement from the Biden administration, more capitulation."

But some Chinese commentators felt otherwise. "By agreeing to let Meng return to China, the Biden administration is signaling that it hopes to clear the mess left behind by the former Trump administration," said Wu Xinbo, dean of the Institute of International Studies at Fudan University.

Canadian leader Justin Trudeau hugged Kovrig and Spavor after they landed in Calgary. The men were detained in China in December 2018, shortly after Canada arrested Meng, the daughter of Huawei's founder, on a US extradition request.

"It's fantastic to be back home in Canada and I am immensely grateful to everybody who worked hard to bring both of us back home,'' a noticeably thinner Kovrig said.

Meng's return was carried live on state TV, underscoring the degree to which Beijing has linked her case with Chinese nationalism and its rise as a global economic and political power.

Meng thanked the ruling Communist Party and its leader Xi Jinping for supporting her through more than 1,000 days in house arrest in Vancouver.

"I have finally returned to the warm embrace of the motherland,'' Meng said. "As an ordinary Chinese citizen going through this difficult time, I always felt the warmth and concern of the party, the nation and the people.''

Editorial: Relieved at Meng return, especially HSBC