Dianne Wong, the vice president for legal affairs at the Washington office of the law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, said the detention was “not legally binding on other countries.”
Ms. Wong, who is involved in human rights work around the world, including cases involving the Chinese government, said it is not unusual for Chinese governments to seek individual suspects’ extradition to their country of residence. “It is happening all the time,” she said. But an extradition can be delayed, she said, while a court decides if the person should remain in custody.
Huawei’s executive Meng Wanzhou has been detained in Vancouver, Canada, on allegations of trying to circumvent U.S. trade sanctions against Iran. The 40-year-old executive, who is also Huawei’s chief financial officer, was detained at the request of U.S. authorities who want to extradite her, according to a statement by the Huawei Group.
Huawei has urged Canada to release Ms. Meng. A Canadian Justice Department spokesperson said that a detention hearing will take place on Wednesday.
U.S. accusations against Huawei have been sharply criticized in China. In May, the prosecutor’s office in Wuhan, a city in central China, called Huawei a “gang” that “engaged in serious economic crimes.” That statement was made on the same day that an indictment by the Chinese government against Huawei was made public.
The annual March 8 report by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative included many allegations against Huawei. The U.S. claimed Huawei violated sanctions against Iran by illegally selling Iran-related equipment. The report also accused Huawei of using code to allow third parties to search users’ smartphones.
The grand jury indictment leveled some of the harshest allegations. It described how the Chinese telecommunications equipment company hacked into a server in Japan from a home in the United States and also hacked the computers of Verizon Wireless, allegedly to gain access to confidential customer information.
Huawei said it has never violated American law. Meng Wanzhou’s arrest will undoubtedly have an impact on foreign-investment relations between the United States and China.