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Meng Wanzhou’s Lawyers Accuse U.S. of Misleading Evidence

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Lawyers for Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Chinese tech firm Huawei, claimed U.S. authorities are trying to mislead the judge overseeing Meng’s extradition hearing by providing an outline of the case that is misleading and omitted important details.

The lawyers made the remarks in a memo, which was made public after a hearing in Vancouver on Meng’s extradition case on Monday.

In the case management memo, Meng’s lawyers claim that the only key evidence to support Meng’s extradition is provided by HSBC, and this evidence presents “deliberate and/or reckless misstatements of fact and material omissions.”

The lawyers argued the records, filed to justify the U.S. request of extradition on charges of fraud, are “so replete with intentional or reckless error” that the only way to deal with them is a stay of proceedings.

Misstatements and omissions

Meng’s lawyers claim the record of the case (ROC) in support the accusation against Meng is incomplete on several fronts, starting with the PowerPoint presentation delivered by Meng on August 22, 2013 to a HSBC banker in Hong Kong.

The presentation, which is the key evidence for Meng’s fraud accusation, allegedly misled HSBC into continuing to provide banking services to Huawei, including processing U.S. dollar transactions, and exposed HSBC to a risk of civil and criminal monetary penalties in the United States under U.S. sanctions laws against Iran.

Meng’s defense team submitted a key disclosure in the above-mentioned slides, where important details were omitted in the version provided by HSBC.

leaves her home to attend a court hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, May 27, 2020. /Reuters
leaves her home to attend a court hearing in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, May 27, 2020. /Reuters

Regarding Huawei’s ongoing business operations in Iran, there are clear statements in the slides, including “as a business partner of Huawei, Skycom works with Huawei in sales and service in Iran,” according to a source acquired by China Media Group.
The ROC asserts that only “junior” employees were aware of Huawei’s business in Iran, and did not relay this information to “senior” executives at HSBC.

Meng’s defense team finds it implausible as HSBC has paid a 1.9-billion-U.S.-dollar fine and entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) related to its own independent misconduct, including in relation to violations of U.S. sanctions law regarding Iran.

In this DPA, HSBC assured the USDOJ that it was remediating the Know Your Client (KYC) for its customers group-wide, adopting enhanced risk standards and adopting U.S. anti-money laundering standards. This remedial measure would have required HSBC to review accounts to ensure that HSBC “knew its customer(s)” and therefore, would have identified Huawei’s business in Iran.

Huawei, being HSBC’s Global Liquidity and Cash Management Department’s 17th largest customer and the world’s largest telecom equipment manufacturer, would necessarily be serviced by senior representatives of HSBC.

Meng’s defense team also adduced further evidence that any issue with the client that involved a potential violation of U.S. law, while the bank was under a DPA, would be addressed by the most senior members of HSBC management.

Abuse of process

Meng’s defense team also argued that Meng’s legal rights are being violated by the political interference from the U.S., as U.S. President Donald Trump once indicated shortly after Meng’s arrest that he would intervene in the case if it results in a better trade deal with China.

Earlier this month, documents released by a Canadian court revealed that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service predicted that Meng’s arrest in December 2018 would send “shock waves around the world and is certain to be a significant bilateral (Canada-China; U.S.-China) issue.” The document indicates that Canada was aware of the political calculation behind Meng’s arrest.

Additionally, Meng’s team argued that the Canada Border Services Agency, the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service conspired with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to mount a covert investigation against Meng when she got off the plane.

The authorities have used the extraordinary powers of border agents to detain Meng before she was officially arrested, seizing her electronic devices, compelling her to give over passwords and questioning her without a lawyer about Huawei’s activities in Iran.

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Peng Liyuan Calls for Global Efforts in AIDS and TB Prevention and Treatment

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Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, called on people from all walks of life in all countries to join hands and take action to strengthen the prevention and treatment of AIDS and tuberculosis (TB), in order to benefit all mankind and build a global community of health for all.

Peng, also World Health Organization (WHO) Goodwill Ambassador for Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, made the remarks via video link on Monday at the opening ceremony of a special high-level event on the sidelines of the United Nations High-Level Meeting on AIDS.

The event aimed to provide a platform for WHO member states to reassert their commitment to ending TB deaths among people living with HIV and deliberate on how they will intensify the response to HIV-associated TB in the context of COVID-19.

Peng said the global fight against AIDS and TB has achieved remarkable results in recent years thanks to the concerted efforts made by the international community.

China has gradually established a cooperation mechanism between prevention and control institutions of AIDS and TB, she said. The country has kept the prevalence of AIDS at a low level, and in the past 20 years, the incidence of TB has dropped by more than 40 percent and the mortality rate by more than 70 percent.

These achievements have been made due to the attention paid by the Chinese government, the efforts of the medical personnel and the silent contributions of the volunteers, she said.

Peng also shared some touching stories and expressed her respect for people and volunteers worldwide who have contributed to the prevention and treatment of the diseases.

Major communicable diseases are among the common challenges facing mankind, and it is people’s common wish to end the threats of AIDS and TB, said Peng.

She added that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought more challenges to the containment of the diseases, calling for global efforts to protect lives and forge ahead.

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Xi Jinping’s Qinghai Tour: Developing Special Industries, Improving Community-Level Governance

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Development of special industries and improvement of community-level governance were highlighted on the first day of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s inspection tour of northwest China’s Qinghai Province on Monday.

Xi, who is also the general secretary of Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, visited a company that makes Tibetan carpets and learned about the design and production processes. Noting the unique features of the carpets, he praised the locals for aptly combining traditional and modern crafts to meet diversified market demands.

The Tibetan carpet industry in Qinghai has helped people out of poverty and promoted rural vitalization and ethnic unity, he noted, adding that he hopes Qinghai will develop more such characteristic industries and achieve better development through innovation.

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Later on, Xi visited a residential community in provincial capital Xining to learn about its efforts in strengthening Party building, improving community-level governance and advancing ethnic unity.

“Whenever I go on an inspection tour, I would visit rural villages and urban communities to see how people’s lives are going,” said Xi.

He stressed strengthening primary-level CPC organizations, calling on them to offer high-quality community services in all aspects.

(Cover: Chinese President Xi Jinping visiting a carpet company in Qinghai Province, northwest China, June 7, 2021. /Xinhua)

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China Outlines Four-Point Proposal on Global Fight Against Corruption

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China made a four-point proposal on international cooperation against corruption on Wednesday, calling for a zero-tolerance attitude toward corruption and respect for differences between countries.

Zhao Leji, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC (CCDI), made the remarks during a special session of the United Nations General Assembly on challenges and measures to prevent and combat corruption and strengthen international cooperation.

“China is an active participant in and contributor to global anti-corruption governance,” Zhao said. The country contributed to the adoption of the Beijing Declaration on Fighting Corruption by APEC and the High-Level Principles on Cooperation on Persons Sought for Corruption and Asset Recovery by the G20, and put forward the Beijing Initiative for the Clean Silk Road to deepen Belt and Road cooperation, he noted.

China’s anti-graft chief Zhao Leji addresses a special session of the UN General Assembly on fighting corruption via video link, June 2, 2021. /Xinhua

Outlining China’s proposal on global anti-corruption cooperation, he called for extensive efforts to uphold fairness and justice.

“The international community needs to forge broad political consensus, take a zero-tolerance attitude toward corruption, build zero-loophole institutions, carry out zero-barrier cooperation, and press ahead with cooperation on persons sought for corruption and asset recovery and on foreign business bribery,” he said.

Meanwhile, countries should respect differences between them and promote equality and mutual learning, he stressed.

“We need to respect the sovereignty and political and legal systems of each country, respect their right to choose their own ways of fighting corruption, and foster an international partnership for anti-corruption cooperation that is based on equality, respect for differences, exchanges and mutual learning, and common progress.”

China’s anti-graft chief called on the international community to “pursue mutually-beneficial cooperation through extensive consultation and joint contribution.”

He also urged countries across the world to “honor commitments and put action first.” Signatories to the UN Convention against Corruption should “honor their solemn commitment of fighting corruption together.”

China’s ‘sweeping victory’ against corruption

Zhao reviewed China’s anti-corruption drive, stressing that the CPC and the Chinese government “stand unequivocally against corruption.”

“We have adopted a holistic approach to address both symptoms and root causes of corruption, and combined law-based punishment, institutional checks, and education and guidance to made our anti-corruption governance more effective,” he said.

In 2020, disciplinary inspection commissions and supervision agencies across the country investigated about 618,000 corruption cases, leading to the punishment of 604,000 people, a report by China’s top anti-graft body said. A total 1,421 fugitives were brought back to China last year, the CCDI report showed.

With “multi-pronged measures” to tackle all acts of corruption, China has secured and consolidated a “sweeping victory” in the fight, Zhao said.

According to a recent survey by China’s National Bureau of Statistics, 95.8 percent of the Chinese people are satisfied with the country’s anti-corruption efforts, he noted.

‘We cannot allow corruption to continue’

The UN General Assembly convened its first ever special session on combating corruption on Wednesday. The special session will conclude on Friday.

President of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly Volkan Bozkir addresses a special session on fighting corruption in New York, June 2, 2021. /Xinhua

Addressing the special session, Volkan Bozkir, president of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, said Wednesday the effects of corruption are “detrimental to all of society” and that it should not be allowed to continue unchecked.

“Transnational financial crime and corruption are unfortunately commonplace in our interconnected, interdependent world,” Bozkir said, adding that corruption affects decision-making processes and “remains one of the most critical challenges for states, institutions, and communities.”

“We cannot allow corruption to continue. We will not,” he stressed.

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