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Arrest of Huawei exec sheds light on U.S. concerns over possible spy networks

Last Updated Dec 6, 2018 at 12:20 pm PDT

(iStock Photo)

Arrest of Huawei's CFO in Vancouver shines spotlight on U.S. concerns China is using cell networks to spy on countries

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The arrest of a Chinese telecom executive in Vancouver is renewing fears of the communist government’s ties to the cellular network giant.

Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested before catching a connecting flight through Vancouver International on Saturday.

Her detention was made at the request of U.S. authorities.

While the suspected reason for Wanzhou’s arrest relate to accusations of breaking American sanctions against Iran, one expert says the U.S. has long expressed concerns about the Chinese government using the telecom giant’s cell networks to spy on foreign countries like the U.S. and Canada.

“That’s the route of the concern here,” IT World Canada editor Brian Jackson explains.

“While Huawei and the Chinese government will say that there’s no ties between the two, and they’ve really repeated that over and over again. But U.S. intelligence officials have been questioning Canada’s ability as to whether it can actually test whether Huawei is being secure, or whether it’s letting anything leak to the Chinese government.”

Related video: Huawei CFO arrested at YVR

Jackson says concerns arise from “the way things work with the Communist party in China,” and cites provisions that include surveillance or information sharing.

He points out the arrest comes at a trying time for U.S.-Chinese relations.

“It comes just days after the American and Chinese presidents agreed to a cease-fire in a tariff battle,” “It is the latest in a series of corporate and official clashes over technology policy.”

China says it is still pushing forward with that truce.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman told reporters Thursday that government wants Canadian officials to reveal the reasoning behind Wanzhou’s arrest.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, faces possible extradition to the U.S.

She appeared in court on Wednesday, and is due back for a bail hearing on Friday.