Agencies: China welcomed home the Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who spent years under house arrest in Canada on fraud charges, with fanfare and hailed her as a hero.
But in the West, the release of two Canadians from jail in China — and the end of a 1,030-day standoff — was viewed with concern, as Beijing was willing to be boldly transactional in its dealings with foreign nationals.
“They’re not even making a pretense of a pretense that this was anything but a straight hostage situation,” said Donald C. Clarke, a law professor specializing in China at George Washington University Law School.
The exchange may help bring tensions between Washington and Beijing back from a point of crisis. But it will likely do little to resolve the deeper issues at play.
Back story: In December 2018, Canadian authorities arrested Meng, the chief financial officer of Huawei and the daughter of its founder, at the request of the U.S. Shortly after, China detained two Canadians, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.
Timing: The swaps came on the same day that President Biden was meeting for the first time at the White House with the leaders of Australia, Japan and India, as part of an effort to build alliances to counter China’s influence.