Detained Huawei executive spends Canada bail reading and painting as two Canadians denied lawyer in China

Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, leaves her home for a court appearance wearing an electronic ankle tag  - BloombergMeng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, leaves her home for a court appearance wearing an electronic ankle tag  - Bloomberg
Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, leaves her home for a court appearance wearing an electronic ankle tag  – Bloomberg

Meng Wangzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese phone company Huawei currently on bail in Canada as the US seeks to extradite her, has revealed that she spends her days reading, talking to colleagues and painting.

US prosecutors say Ms Meng is linked to fraud that allowed Huawei to evade sanctions against Iran, and are attempting to have her moved to the US to face trial.

She was arrested in Vancouver on 1 December 2018, one year before she published a ‘thank you’ message to supporters on Huawei’s website on Sunday. Ms Meng wrote that life on bail passed “so slow that I have enough time to read a book from cover to cover.

“I can take the time to discuss minutiae with my colleagues or to carefully complete an oil painting.”

The Huawei executive, whose detainment sparked a diplomatic row between Canada and China, is able to travel around Vancouver relatively freely outside her 11pm-6am curfew.

She has been living in a £3.5 million, six-bedroom house, one of multiple properties she owns in the city.

“While my personal freedoms have been limited, my soul still seeks to be free,” she wrote.

“Amidst these setbacks, I’ve found light in the life around me… if a busy life has eaten away at my time, then hardship has in turn drawn it back out.”

Michael Spavor is one of two Canadians arrested by China after Ms Meng was detained - Credit: WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty ImagesMichael Spavor is one of two Canadians arrested by China after Ms Meng was detained - Credit: WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images
Business consultant Michael Spavor is one of two Canadians arrested by China after Ms Meng was detained Credit: WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images

Ms Meng’s lifestyle is in sharp contrast to that of two Canadians who were detained in China shortly after her arrest, in a move many saw as hostage diplomacy-style retaliation by Beijing.

Michael Spavor, a consultant specialising in North Korea relations, and Michael Kovrig, an NGO worker and former diplomat, have been in a Chinese detention centre for a year.

Last May they were charged with spying. The two men, who Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, said were being held in “arbitrary detention” for “political goals”, have reportedly been interrogated and held in rooms lit by artificial lighting 24 hours a day.

They have reportedly been prevented from meeting with lawyers and family, and not allowed to go outdoors.

In July Mr Kovrig’s reading glasses were allegedly confiscated by officials keeping watch over him.

Ms Meng suggested that she enjoyed a more positive relationship with her guards.

“After a whole night of heavy snow, the security company’s staff were so considerate that they shoveled a path for my elderly mother, filling our hearts with warmth in this cold winter,” she wrote.

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