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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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A Community With a Shared Future for Humankind in Light of U.S.-China Tensions

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I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn and here’s what I’m watching: China’s vision of a Community of a Shared Future for Humankind in light of U.S.- China tensions. China’s vision is unambiguously good. Who could deny the benefits, to all human beings, of seeing all human beings as a community, and envisioning a shared future together? But rationality is not the problem here. The problem, in certain quarters, is that the phrase has come to represent China — and interpreted, by some, as symbolizing China seeking to become a dominant power, perhaps the dominant power in the world, and to impose its ways of governance and control on others. Is the problem irresolvable?

Consider the recent 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, and the “Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War.” Such reflection is especially relevant today because, sadly, the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies, have moved from collaborators to competitors, with some on each side now calling the U.S. and China adversaries, a descent into a hostile, perilous, zero-sum game.

What is worth remembering about U.S.- China cooperation in fighting Japanese aggression in World War II is that, at the time, the interests of the U.S. and China differed, yet they still cooperated, united by a common foe. To China, the battle on Chinese soil was existential: their country invaded, partially occupied, and suffering unspeakable horrors. To the U.S., the battle on Chinese soil was diverting Japanese forces and resources, reducing Japan’s capacity to wage war against America and American interests throughout the Pacific theater.

What’s the solution to U.S.- China conflict today? If common foes are what we need, the U.S. and China have common foes in abundance: they are not marching soldiers, but they are every bit as dangerous and deadly: pandemics, climate change, world poverty, world inequalities, terrorism, organized crime, wars and threats of war in numerous locations. In this context, a community of a shared future for humanity can thrive.

Consider the impact of world poverty alleviation. China’s experience in bringing some 850 million people out of extreme poverty is a vital resource for poorer countries. While different conditions and cultures preclude wholesale transfer, China’s targeted poverty alleviation success provides a model and a benchmark: standardized criteria, methods, measures, systems, and on-the-ground organization with five levels of local government.

While appreciating lessons to be learned from history, I also believe, to take a contrarian position, that history lessons have limited value today. Our epoch is unique. For multiple reasons, especially instant global communication, our geopolitical conditions are sui generis – unique, never before happened – which should give us pause to reflect before we react. The burden is on us, especially U.S. and Chinese leadership, to find the right road on which both great countries and peoples can walk in peace and harmony, with honesty, dignity and mutual respect. For a community of a shared future to truly work for all humanity, U.S.- China cooperation is a necessary condition.

I’m keeping watch. I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn.

Scriptwriter: Robert Lawrence Kuhn

Cameraman: Morgan Compagnon

Video editor: Liu Yuqing

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Peng Liyuan Sends Congratulatory Message to UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education

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China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan, also United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) special envoy for the advancement of girls’ and women’s education, sent a congratulatory message to the award of UNESCO via a video on October 12.

In her message, Peng expressed congratulations to prize-winners from Sri Lanka and Kenya. In 2015, China established the Girls’ and Women’s Education Award with UNESCO, and Peng mentioned that there are millions of people who devote their life for the education of girls and women in China.

Zhang Guimei is one of them. She is a female teacher who has taught in the poor mountainous areas of Southwest China’s Yunnan Province for over 40 years. She established the first full-tuition-free girl high school in China, which helps many young girls from poverty-stricken families receive education.

This year, 1.5 billion students have been forced to suspend classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Peng, and this impact on girls is particularly pronounced. We need to find ways to help those girls get back to school so that they won’t be left behind due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sixty-three percent of illiterate adults around the world are women, said Peng, and the education of girls and women is of great benefit to the present and the future. China will continue to work with UNESCO to ensure the success of the Girls’ and Women’s Education Awards from 2021 to 2025, and make greater contributions to promoting girls’ and women’s education and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, Peng added.

Audrey Azoulay, director-general of UNESCO, thanked the Chinese government for supporting the establishment of Girls’ and Women’s Education Awards.

The UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education honors outstanding and innovative contributions made by individuals, institutions and organizations to advance girls’ and women’s education.

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What is China’s ‘People-Centered Philosophy’?

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I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn and here’s what I’m watching: What does President Xi Jinping mean when he says that the Communist Party of China has a “people-centered philosophy” for China? Many countries talk about improving the welfare and serving the interests of their citizens — what is so special about China’s “people-centered philosophy”?

To some foreigners, the phrase may sound like an empty platitude, devoid of meaning or import. But while Chinese officials hear the identical linguistic sounds in their ears, they perceive quite the opposite meaning in their minds. They take the Party’s phrases seriously. Well they should; their careers are at stake.

Here’s how President Xi defined “people-centered philosophy” in May 2020. He had four points:

First, the fundamental goal for the Party is to unite and lead the people in revolution, development and reform, and thereby ensure a better life for them.

Second, the Party must always put the people’s interests first.

Third, people’s lives and health should be protected at all costs, and since the beginning of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Party has made people’s lives and health the top priority.

Fourth, people are the solid foundation for the Party’s governance.

More important than his speeches, President Xi walks the walk literally by visiting poor villages — his visits numbered well over 50 when last I counted.

In 2019, during a tour of southwest China’s Chongqing Municipality, President Xi stressed the goal-directing phrase, “two no worries and three guarantees” in poverty alleviation work. The “two no worries” refer to those who have been living in poverty no longer needing to worry about food and clothing. And the “three guarantees” refer to guaranteeing compulsory education, basic medical treatment, and safe housing.

Visiting a poor mountainous village, Xi entered a primary school, walked through the cafeteria, inspected the kitchen, and inquired about the food subsidies and hygiene of the poor students. “Not a single person should be left behind in the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects,” Xi said.

But to hit a poverty alleviation target is one thing … to keep sustaining a multi-decade poverty alleviation campaign to prevent some from falling back into poverty and to continue to combat relative poverty … is quite another. For this, Xi says, what’s needed is wisdom. I’m keeping watch. I’m Robert Lawrence Kuhn.

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