Predictably, the Huawei soap opera is becoming more dramatic by the day on the heels of Canada’s decision to move ahead with extradition proceedings against political prisoner Meng Wanzhou.
On Friday, we gently suggested that Trump should intervene on Meng’s behalf in order to avoid a dangerous escalation that could end up not only imperiling a Sino-US pact on trade, but relations between Beijing and Washington more generally. That’s a highly undesirable state of affairs at a time when bipolarity seems to be making a comeback as the prevailing global order.
Over the weekend, news broke that Meng’s lawyers had filed suit against Canada in the British Columbia Supreme Court, alleging all manner of nefarious shenanigans including “unlawful” detention (i.e., kidnapping) and violations of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
That underscores worsening tensions between Ottawa and Beijing. Any further deterioration in Canada’s diplomatic relations with China casts considerable doubt on the fate of three Canadians detailed by Xi’s security apparatus.
Fast forward to Monday and Huawei is all set to sue the US in the Eastern District of Texas, the site of the company’s American headquarters.
The legal action is in response to the government’s efforts to ban federal agencies from using Huawei equipment.
“The lawsuit that Huawei is preparing to file in the US is expected to challenge a section of a defense spending authorization law that was approved last year… blocking executive agencies from using telecom equipment made by Huawei and ZTE”, The New York Times explains, adding that “Huawei’s lawsuit is likely to argue that the provision is a ‘bill of attainder’, or a legislative act that singles out a person or group for punishment without trial.”
Long story short, the actual Constitution doesn’t let Congress do that kind of thing.
More generally, though, this suggests Huawei has had just about enough of America’s efforts to blackball the company on a global scale.
The lawsuit will be announced Thursday and as Reuters writes, the move would be “the latest in a series of responses from the Chinese company as Washington tries to persuade allies to ban Huawei from business alleging espionage risks.”
The bottom line is the same as it was last week and with that in mind, we’ll just leave you with a passage from a Friday post:
It’s not entirely advisable for the Trump administration to tilt at windmills at a time when the trade war has already fostered worries about an “economic cold war.”
Huawei is a windmill – and a big one at that.