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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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Xi-Biden Call Analysis: Cooperation Should be Based Upon Mutual Respect

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In the first phone conversation between the leaders of the world’s two biggest economies in seven months, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday morning had a “candid, in-depth and extensive strategic communication and exchanges” with his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden, according to a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

“On the basis of respecting each other’s core concerns and properly managing differences, the relevant departments of the two countries may continue their engagement and dialogue to advance coordination and cooperation on climate change, COVID-19 response and economic recovery as well as on major international and regional issues,” Xi told Biden. 

White House officials said Biden initiated the 90-minute phone call, which is only the second of this kind since the U.S. president took office.

There had been high expectations for Biden to improve bilateral relations ever since he replaced former President Donald Trump in January.

Biden’s China journey four decades on

Biden came to China in 1979 as a member of the first delegation the U.S. Congress sent to China. The then senator said in a speech that China’s development was good for the United States.

He visited China again in 2011, and wrote in a New York Times op-ed that “a successful China can make our country [U.S.] more prosperous, not less.” 

“On issues from global security to global economic growth, we share common challenges and responsibilities – and we have incentives to work together,” read the article titled “China’s Rise Isn’t Our Demise.”

In his first phone call with Xi on the eve of the Chinese New Year in February this year, Biden sent his greetings to the Chinese people. He said he was prepared to have candid and constructive dialogue with China in the spirit of mutual respect and to improve mutual understanding and avoid miscommunication and miscalculation.

Yet such goodwill failed to match up with the actions, according to Yuyuantantian, a public WeChat account that focuses on current affairs. And hostility has been particularly evident in the U.S. Congress. 

In recent months, there have been more China-related bills in the U.S. Congress than ever before, with more than a dozen in July alone, most of which recommended the adoption of opposing or restrictive policies against China. 

The U.S. has made a major strategic miscalculation on China, said Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, as quoted in the Yuyuantantian article. “It mistakenly takes China as a major strategic competitor and believes whatever China does is aimed at undermining the U.S. leadership and dominating the international order.”

Xi has said China and the United States will have different views on some issues, but the key is to respect each other and treat each other as equals. But the U.S. has yet to learn to do that, according to Yuyuantantian.

‘Whether China, U.S. can handle their relationship well bears on the future of the world’

China and the United States are respectively the biggest developing country and the biggest developed country, whether they can handle their relationship well bears on the future of the world, and it is a question of the century to which the two countries must provide a good answer, Xi said in the Friday phone conversation.

The two countries should bring relations back to the right track of stable development as soon as possible for the good of the people in both countries and around the world, he added.

How to get China-U.S. relations back on track has become a “must-solve problem,” Yuyuantantian commented, adding that the ball is now in the U.S. court. 

Washington is gradually losing its reputation all around the world, the public account said. “If it really wants cooperation, it has to ‘get off its high horse,’ face the reality and start an open dialogue with China,” it added. 

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Through the lens: How 20 Years of Conflict Since 9/11 Changed Afghanistan

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The Afghanistan war ended just as abruptly as it had begun. Two decades ago, the September 11 terrorist attacks led the U.S. to formulate its controversial counter-terrorism policy, including its longest war in history – the war in Afghanistan.

Twenty years later, the mountainous country nestled in the heartland of Asia has once again come to a crossroads as the U.S. withdrew its troops, with the Taliban reclaiming the power they lost two decades ago.

Afghanistan has long been a battlefield for global powers, but it has never been conquered, hence its moniker – the “Graveyard of Empires.”

In the series “Through the lens: Afghanistan 2001-2021,” we dive into the scars the war has left on the country, and the fear, wrath and resilience of the Afghan people, in eight episodes.

Afghanistan 2001-2021: How the ‘war on terror’ begins

The September 11 attacks claimed some 3,000 lives, making it the deadliest attack in U.S. history. 

Afghanistan 2001-2021: America’s longest war

The U.S. military invaded the country, already war-plagued and impoverished, in the name of the “war on terror.” 

Afghanistan 2001-2021: The poppies blossom

In decades of war and destitution, opium poppy plantation and production have become a major source of income for local farmers. “Either Afghanistan destroys opium, or opium will destroy Afghanistan,” former Afghan President Hamid Karzai once said.

Afghanistan 2001-2021: Fears and tears

In the protracted war in Afghanistan, no one suffered more than Afghan civilians. Hundreds of thousands were forced to flee from homes with no shelter and rarely any food.

Afghanistan 2001-2021: The Displaced

Wars after wars have made migration a norm for the Afghan people. As of 2021, Afghanistan is the third largest source of refugees in the world, with the number of Afghan refugees standing at 2.6 million. Domestically, 4 million internally displaced persons are still in temporary camps.

Afghanistan 2001-2021: The skyline and the slum

In the capital, Kabul, there are only two kinds of people – the rich and the poor.

Afghanistan 2001-2021: The withdrawal

On April 14, Biden announced the U.S. troop withdrawal would be completed by September 11, marking the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that sparked the invasion. In the months that followed, the country witnessed massive chaos. 

Afghanistan 2001-2021: The future is murky

How the new Afghan government deals with the wide range of social, political and economic issues will determine how an Afghanistan under the Taliban will be received by the Afghan people and the world.

Editors: Zeng Ziyi, Zhao Yue, Wang Xiaonan, Yu Jing, Zhong Xia, Du Junzhi 

Images designed by Liu Shaozhen

Graphics by Yang Yiren 

Producer: Wang Xiaonan 

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Xi Jinping Urges ‘True Multilateralism’ in World’s ‘Daunting’ Economic Recovery from COVID-19

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Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday said the world economy is undergoing a “daunting recovery” which requires “true multilateralism” in the face of fresh COVID-19 flare-ups.

“We are ready to work with all parties to uphold true multilateralism, advocate trust and harmony, promote win-win cooperation, and march with firm steps toward the goal of building a community with a shared future for mankind,” Xi said at the opening ceremony of the plenary session of the sixth Eastern Economic Forum via video link from Beijing.

The forum – held in Russia every year since 2015 – has the goal of promoting multilateral cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. Last year’s session was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the speech, Xi called for the international community to unite. “We need to intensify cooperation in vaccine research, development and production, provide more public goods to the international community,” he said.

The Chinese president also voiced opposition to any sort of politicization of COVID-19 vaccines and origins-tracing.

Extra efforts for mutually-beneficial cooperation

“We need to redouble our efforts to advance mutually-beneficial cooperation,” Xi said at the opening ceremony.

He called for the deepening of collaboration between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union in areas including digital economy and climate change.

The Chinese president also urged the group to embrace a “common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security” by “narrowing differences” and “building consensus through dialogue and exchanges.”

As Friday marks the 76th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War, Xi also called for the defense of the victory’s outcomes.

“The international community must defend firmly the victorious outcomes of World War II, safeguard the truth of history, and stay committed to taking history as a mirror to open up a brighter future,” Xi said.

(Cover: Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the opening ceremony of the sixth Eastern Economic Forum via video link, September 3, 2021. /Xinhua)

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