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See How the World’s Most Polluted Air Compares With Your City’s

The floating particles on this page depict microscopic particulate pollution known as PM2.5. The number of particles you see here represents the upper limit for “good” air quality, as defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency: 12 micrograms per cubic meter.

We made our best guess for your location, or you can pick another.This is pollution in New York City on the worst air quality day this year. Hazardous particulate concentrations reached 41 µg/m3 during the highest hour, a level that would be considered “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

Compare that to the air in California last year, when a thick blanket of smoke from the Camp Fire descended across the Bay Area. Particulate pollution hit nearly 200 µg/m3, well within the “very unhealthy” range when people are advised to limit outdoor activity.

But that spike pales in comparison with the recent air quality crisis in northern India: On the most polluted day last month, fine particulate levels in New Delhi reached over 900 µg/m3, blowing past the E.P.A.’s definition of “hazardous” air (which maxes out at 500) and into extreme territory.

Outdoor particulate pollution was responsible for an estimated 4.2 million deaths worldwide in 2015, with a majority concentrated in east and south Asia. Millions more fell ill from breathing dirty air.

This fine pollution mainly comes from burning things: Coal in power plants, gasoline in cars, chemicals in industrial processes, or woody materials and whatever else ignites during wildfires. The particles are too small for the eye to see — each about 35 times smaller than a grain of fine beach sand — but in high concentrations they cast a haze in the sky. And, when breathed in, they wreak havoc on human health.

PM2.5 can evade our bodies’ defenses, penetrating deep into the lungs and even entering the bloodstream. It has been shown to exacerbate asthma and other lung disorders, and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. This microscopic pollution, named because each particle is smaller than 2.5 micrometers across, has also been linked to developmental problems in children and cognitive impairment in the elderly, as well as premature labor and low birth weights.

Under high levels of particulate pollution, “you can’t function, you can’t thrive,” said Alexandra Karambelas, an environmental analyst and research scientist affiliated with Columbia University. “Having access to clean air is kind of a basic human right.”

A Year of Fine Particulate Pollution

Source: Forecasts for daily average particulate matter (PM 2.5) concentration in micrograms per cubic meter are from the ECMWF Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service.

Developing and newly industrialized regions experience some of the worst particulate pollution today. But even high-income, developed economies, which have made big strides in reducing such pollution, continue to struggle with the quality of their air.

In the United States, which has some of the cleanest air in the world, fine particulate matter still contributed to 88,000 premature deaths in 2015 — making this pollution more deadly than both diabetes and the flu. And pollution in America has worsened since 2016, reversing years of decline.

Before governments can decide how best to tackle unhealthy air, Dr. Karambelas said, they need to better understand the causes of pollution. “Is it lax standards? No enforcement of the standards?” she asked. “Is something happening regionally that plays a large role?” she asked.

The city-level data shown here focuses on average particulate pollution, allowing you to compare air quality across the world. But the amount of pollution you breathe also varies within a city, from neighborhood to neighborhood and block to block.

And pollution does not affect all groups equally.

A recent study found that in the United States, people of color tend to breathe dirtier air than white Americans, despite contributing far less to overall pollution. Around the world, the poorest suffer most from unhealthy air.

Wildfires Increase Pollution in California and the Western U.S.

DAILY Air quality based on PM2.5

500 µg/m3

Data reflects regional estimates by Berkeley Earth based on observations at ground-level monitoring stations.

Last year’s deadly Camp Fire engulfed Paradise, Calif., in the Sierra Nevada foothills, causing 85 deaths and destroying nearly 19,000 buildings. Smoke from the fire blanketed much of northern California for nearly two weeks, prompting health warnings.

In San Francisco, nearly 200 miles south of Paradise, fine particulate pollution reached nearly 200 micrograms per cubic meter at the worst hour, according to Berkeley Earth, a nonprofit research group that aggregates data from air-quality monitoring sites. Average daily air quality hovered between “unhealthy” and “very unhealthy” for 11 days. Schools were closed and cable car service suspended; protective face masks and air filters sold out at local stores.

Further inland, Sacramento temporarily earned the unwelcome title of most polluted city in the world.

Such large, high-pollution fires have become more common across the West in recent years, said Daniel Jaffe, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington.

“2018 had some of the worst ever air quality in Seattle, where I live,” he said. That year, smoke from fires in both eastern Washington and north of the border in British Columbia clouded the city’s skies for more than a week.

Climate change, and the hot, dry conditions it creates, has led to more catastrophic Western fires and, with them, more air pollution. But fire hazards are also increasing because of greater development in areas abutting wildlands, the over-suppression of natural wildfires, and aging electrical infrastructure (broken power lines were identified as the cause of California’s deadly Camp Fire).

Average air pollution in both Seattle and the Bay Area remains relatively low outside of large fire events, but even periodic exposure to such high levels of PM2.5 pollution can have lasting health consequences.

Air Quality: A Public Health Emergency in Northern India

DAILY Air quality based on PM2.5

500 µg/m3

Data reflects regional estimates by Berkeley Earth based on observations at ground-level monitoring stations.

Last month, particulate pollution soared to apocalyptic highs in New Delhi, a city that struggles with air quality throughout the year. On the most polluted day, PM2.5 readings pushed past the limit of “hazardous” air and remained dangerously high over the following weeks.

Officials declared a public health emergency, shutting down schools and distributing millions of protective face masks to residents. Hundreds of flights into and out of the city were canceled or delayed because of low visibility.

In an effort to clear the hazy skies, the government temporarily halted all construction projects and restricted the number of cars on the road, requiring vehicles with odd- and even-numbered license plates to drive on alternate days. But critics said those measures only scratched the surface of the broader air quality crisis.

The early winter surge in air pollution has become “depressingly predictable” over the past decade, said Joshua Apte, an air quality scientist and assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Starting in late October and early November, smoke from upwind agricultural burning combines with Delhi’s year-round urban pollution — a toxic mix of vehicle exhaust, industrial emissions and construction dust — to create an eye-watering smog. Fireworks from Diwali celebrations worsen the city’s hazardous air.

At the same time, cold winter air coming down the Himalayan Mountains traps pollution near the surface, creating a belt of haze that can be seen from space. Cities across Northern India, from nearby Agra all the way east to Kolkata, see similar seasonal patterns of pollution.

“Extremes catch the headlines and everyone talks about it,” Dr. Apte said. “But levels of pollution across the region are very high on a normal winter day. Even when the sky appears to be blue in Delhi, pollution concentrations often exceed what we know to be healthy.”

Last week, India’s Supreme Court criticized state governments for repeatedly failing to resolve the regional air pollution crisis and for ignoring the court’s previous orders to limit agricultural burning.

Calling clean air and water a constitutional right, the court said the local governments should pay their citizens compensation if they fail to clean up the environment and gave authorities six weeks to respond. “Human life and health have been put in danger,” the court wrote in its order.

China’s ‘War Against Air Pollution’

DAILY Air quality based on PM2.5

500 µg/m3

Data reflects regional estimates by Berkeley Earth based on observations at ground-level monitoring stations. The data is quality-controlled, but some anomalies or errors may persist.

Beijing was once synonymous with dirty air. But in 2014, the government announced a “war against pollution,” pledging to clean up the dangerous haze hanging over many of China’s major cities.

“We will resolutely declare war against pollution as we declared war against poverty,” Premier Li Keqiang announced in front of 3,000 delegates at the National People’s Congress in an address broadcast on state television.

The country set strict limits on burning coal and implemented new emissions standards for power plants and heavy industry. It also banned the construction of new coal plants surrounding Beijing and other highly polluted areas and shut down some of the oldest, most polluting plants.

Beijing, Shanghai and other large cities restricted the number of high-polluting vehicles on their roads and heavily subsidized electric buses.

Today, air quality in Beijing has improved, though skies remain far from clear. Average daily particulate pollution hovers in the “moderate” to “unhealthy” range. The maximum hourly reading reached nearly 250 micrograms per cubic meter last November. But that’s vastly lower than the levels of pollution that were once common in the city. In 2013, Beijing recorded concentrations from 700 to 900 µg/m3 of PM2.5, not unlike the air in New Delhi last month.

In 2016, a report from the environmental group Greenpeace warned that pollution controls enacted in eastern China were pushing investment in polluting industries to the west, making the air there more dangerous. Western China is also prone to large seasonal sandstorms from April through June, which contribute to unhealthy air.

Last year, two cities in the west — Hotan and Kashgar, in Xinjiang province — still ranked among the most polluted in the world.

Source: China
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Fighting Extradition, Huawei Executive Writes of ‘Moments of Fear’

On the first anniversary of her arrest, the Huawei technology executive Meng Wanzhou has written a reflective, sometimes plaintive letter describing her year in detention in Vancouver as having “moments of fear, pain, disappointment, helplessness, torment, and struggle” but also acceptance and more time for herself.

Ms. Meng, 47, a former secretary at Huawei who rose to become its chief financial officer and public face of the company, was arrested in Vancouver last December after the United States had requested her extradition on fraud charges.

She has been freed on bail but is not permitted to leave Vancouver. She is accused, among other things, of deceiving four banks to enable Huawei to evade American sanctions against Iran.

“Over the past year, I have also learned to face up to and accept my situation,” she wrote in the letter, which was published on Huawei’s website on Sunday. “I’m no longer afraid of the unknown.”

Her arrest, she wrote, had radically changed her daily life, allowing more time for hobbies like reading and painting.

“When I was in Shenzhen, time used to pass by very quickly,” she wrote, referring to Huawei’s headquarters city in southern China. “Every day, my schedule was fully packed and I was constantly rushing from place to place, and from meeting to meeting.”

She continued: “Right now, time seems to pass slowly. It is so slow that I have enough time to read a book from cover to cover. I can take the time to discuss minutiae with my colleagues or to carefully complete an oil painting.”

The arrest in December of last year thrust Canada into the center of a diplomatic struggle between China and the United States. China has detained — in retaliation, some say — two Canadians and accused them of espionage. It has also sentenced two other Canadians to death on drug-related accusations.

China cut off trade of Canadian canola oil and, for a time, halted beef and pork imports although those restrictions were lifted in November.

The extradition hearing is scheduled to begin in January after months of hearings in which the prosecution and defense have wrangled over the circumstances of her arrest and the validity of the charges.

Ms. Meng has cut a glamorous figure in court, variously wearing casual outfits or colorful designer dresses. On the day of the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in September, she wore a bright red dress, adorned with an enamel Chinese flag pin. Her penchant for designer stiletto heels, sometimes with glitter on them, draws attention to the GPS-tracker on her left ankle that she has been ordered by the judge to wear to make sure she does not flee the country.

Yet the contrast between her gilded detention in Vancouver compared with the fate of the imprisoned Canadians in China has raised hackles in Canada.

While the Canadians are held in isolation in undisclosed locations, denied access to lawyers, and prevented from going outside or seeing sunlight, Ms. Meng has been out on bail of 10 million Canadian dollars — about $7.5 million — and living in a gated, seven-bedroom mansion in the city’s exclusive Shaughnessy neighborhood.

The mansion, which Ms. Meng owns, has been estimated to be worth as much as 16 million Canadian dollars.

Ms. Meng is also able to travel relatively freely around the city.

In the letter, Ms. Meng thanked supporters and Huawei’s customers for standing by her.

“In Chinese, the character for ‘light’ is composed of two parts: one that means fire, representing hope, and one that means people,” she wrote. “My dear friends, your warmth is a beacon that lights my way forward, and I appreciate it more than words can say.”

She also paid tribute to Canadians and saluted the kindness of the security officers, both at the correctional facility where she was initially held and during her confinement under her bail terms.

Ms. Meng’s lawyers have argued that her actions do not constitute a crime in Canada, a prerequisite for the case to succeed. Her defense also says Ms. Meng is the victim of an elaborate conspiracy by Canadian border agents and the F.B.I. to arrest her in what they have characterized as a politically motivated case pressed by President Trump to get a better trade deal with China.

The defense has also filed a civil case against the Canadian authorities, arguing that her rights were breached when she was initially detained in Vancouver.

Canada has a record of granting about 90 percent of extradition requests, and legal experts say Ms. Meng is likely to be extradited, though it could take months — or even years — for the courts to reach a final decision.

Tracy Sherlock contributed reporting from Vancouver, British Columbia.

Source: China
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China Hits Back at U.S. Over Hong Kong Bill in a Mostly Symbolic Move

BEIJING — China said on Monday that it would suspend visits to Hong Kong by American warships and impose sanctions on several United States-based nongovernmental groups, in a mostly symbolic retaliation for tough human rights legislation President Trump signed last week.

Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said the measures were a response to the “unreasonable behavior” on the part of the United States. She denounced the new human rights legislation as illegal interference into its domestic affairs.

In her remarks, Ms. Hua also accused several organizations, including the National Endowment for Democracy, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House, of instigating violence during the antigovernment protests that have convulsed Hong Kong since June. It is unclear what form any Chinese sanctions on these groups would take.

Without citing evidence, Ms. Hua said these groups supported “anti-China forces in creating chaos in Hong Kong, and encouraged them to engage in extreme violent criminal acts.”

“They have a large responsibility for the chaos in Hong Kong, and deserve to be sanctioned and pay the price.”

China has responded to the new legislation with strong rhetoric, but the measures announced Monday suggested that Beijing was unwilling to let the dispute spill over into its trade negotiations with the United States.

It was unclear what impact, if any, the sanctions would have on the groups China has singled out for punishment. Most of the organizations Ms. Hua named do not have offices in mainland China. Foreign nongovernmental groups have already been subject to growing Chinese government pressure since 2016, when the country passed a wide-reaching law strictly regulating their operations in the country.

China has also previously denied permission to American naval vessels to dock in Hong Kong at times of heightened tensions between the two countries, most recently in August.

“It’s nothing new,” said Willy Lam, a political expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “I think the major purpose of this is rhetorical: to try to convince the world that the U.S., whether it’s the C.I.A. or the N.G.O.s, is trying to foment a color revolution in Hong Kong.”

But with China’s economy slowing and new tariffs looming, the rhetoric could only go so far. “China really needs this trade deal,” Mr. Lam said.

China’s reaction was widely expected. Last Thursday, China vowed retaliation after Mr. Trump signed the two bills, which authorized sanctions on officials responsible for human rights abuses and banned the sale of American-made crowd-control equipment to Hong Kong. Chinese officials in Beijing summoned the United States ambassador, Terry Branstad, over the law.

Hong Kong’s police force has sought to put down months of increasingly violent anti-government protests with tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray. On Sunday, protesters waving American flags marched peacefully to the United States Consulate in Hong Kong to thank Washington for passing the law. Later in the day, protesters elsewhere clashed with police officers who fired tear gas — the first major confrontation since pro-democracy demonstrators scored a sweeping victory in local elections that were widely seen as a referendum on the movement.

Claire Fu contributed research.

Source: China
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China’s Zijin wins over Canadian miner Continental Gold with US$1 billion cash offer

Cash is king and will be hard to top by a rival bidder, according to the head of Continental Gold, which agreed to a C$1.37 billion (US$1 billion) takeover offer from China’s largest listed producer of mined gold.Continental’s shares rose as much as 11 per cent in Toronto on Monday after the offer from Fujian-based Zijin Mining Group was announced. That is in contrast to Kirkland Lake Gold, whose shares plunged 17 per cent on November 25 after it made an all-stock US$3.7 billion takeover bid…

Source: South China Morning Post
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Third bond default by Chinese electronics firm within a month points to wider corporate governance issues

Tunghsu Optoelectronic Technology has failed to make good on a bond – its third in less than a month – as the struggles point to poor corporate governance among Chinese companies.The maker of electronic display panels, which reported ample cash holdings of more than 18 billion yuan as of September, missed an interest payment on its 1.7 billion yuan (US$241 million) onshore bond due on Monday, according to an exchange filing.The latest default has cast doubt on whether Tunghsu could meet its…

Source: South China Morning Post
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China hopes to cut work permit red tape for foreigners as part of plan to boost Yangtze River Delta

Foreigners in China have long had cause to complain about the bureaucracy and paperwork involved in getting a working visa, but that may be about to change after the authorities unveiled plans to streamline the application process.A policy document released on Sunday outlined plans for a series of pilot programmes to reduce the red tape involved in the process as part of a project to boost the Yangtze River Delta region, which includes major commercial hubs such as Shanghai, Hangzhou and…

Source: South China Morning Post
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Phase one trade deal could spur growth, benefit Asian financial markets in 2020, Credit Suisse says

A “phase one” trade deal between the US and China could spark a growth recovery in Asia in early 2020, easing a drag that has weighed on industrial production for much of this year, according to John Woods, Credit Suisse’s chief investment officer for Asia-Pacific.Woods said the bank expects “moderate” global economic growth next year at a 2.5 per cent pace and financial markets are likely to benefit as industrial production recovers.“I think a number of the drags on economic growth that we…

Source: South China Morning Post
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Morgan Stanley boosts price targets for Alibaba, Baidu and e-commerce upstarts as bank says China internet sector ‘attractive’

Morgan Stanley has raised the price targets of Alibaba Group Holding, Baidu, Pinduoduo and Meituan Dianping as the US investment bank upgraded China’s internet sector to “attractive” level in a research note published on Monday.The sector is expected to show “accelerated diversification” to expand their reach from consumers to businesses and government, Hong Kong-based analyst Grace Chen wrote in the report. The bank also expects that momentum to carry into lower-tier cities and into overseas…

Source: South China Morning Post
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How China-US rivalry is dividing the internet

When Hyunjin Seo visited Beijing in July last year, she scrolled through Google News on her smartphone and discovered several reports about an attack on the city’s US embassy.

An associate professor at the University of Kansas’s journalism department, she bypassed China’s strict digital media censors thanks to the roaming plan of her US phone firm. This allowed her to access websites such as those from Google not available in China.

“I was telling my Chinese friends about the bomb detonating outside the [US] embassy and they didn’t know what I was talking about, because this news wasn’t appearing in their search feeds,” recalls Prof Seo, who teaches courses on digital media.

Rivals is a season of in-depth coverage on BBC News about the contest for supremacy between the US and China across trade, tech, defence and soft power.

Read more here.

Her experience is common for any westerner visiting China.

The internet in the world’s most populous country is heavily restricted and censored, leading experts to speculate that in the future there could be two distinct internets – one led by China and one by the US.

The point was made last year by former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt.

At a private event, when an economist asked Mr Schmidt (now a board member of Google parent company Alphabet) about the potential of the internet fragmenting into different sub-internets with different regulations, he replied, “I think the most likely scenario now is not a splintering, but rather a bifurcation into a Chinese-led internet and a non-Chinese internet led by America.”

Such a divide is already in place, due to the Great Firewall of China, a government-sponsored programme that censors content within its digital borders. Chinese users can’t access Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox or Pinterest, among other popular sites.

They also can’t read online information on the Tiananmen Square massacre or criticism aimed at President Xi Jinping. Even online images of Winnie the Pooh have been banned in China after protesters compared President Xi’s face to the classic Disney character.

“In one of the biggest markets in the world, tech companies are leaving because they can’t fully operate how they want to, by freely sharing information online,” notes Ms Seo.

Such censorship means overseas businesses are hampered if they want to expand into China – one of the most attractive markets in the world.

More Technology of Business

No matter the size of the company, to operate in China overseas firms have to jump through hoops that can cause them problems.

While Apple services and products are available in China, the California-based tech giant has sparked controversy over its activities in the Chinese market. In 2017, China asked Apple to remove the New York Times and Skype app from its App Store. Apple complied.

Google has also waded into Chinese waters, only to be met with intense criticism. Most notably, Google secretly worked on a version of its search engine to go up against Chinese-born Baidu.

The Chinese-only Google would censor some results relating to human rights violations and controversial laws. “Project Dragonfly” was uncovered in a 2018 article by The Intercept, and Google eventually scrapped the project.

“When you enter search terms in China on their search engine, you get a different result from what you see in the West,” says Sarah Cook, senior China research analyst at Freedom House, a US independent watchdog focusing on human rights. “The red lines of what is being censored are constantly moving.”

2019 marks the fourth year in a row that Freedom House has ranked China at the bottom for Internet freedom in its annual report “Freedom on the Net”.

A business looking to enter China has to either play by the rules or leave. For example, LinkedIn doesn’t allow Chinese users to access politically sensitive profiles or posts from people outside the country.

Why such restrictions on a tool specifically designed to open up digital realms of information, media and debate?

“That censorship relates to the legitimacy of the Chinese Community Party and promoting an official narrative about the nation-state,” says Renren Yang, an assistant professor of modern Chinese popular culture at the University of British Columbia.

While Chinese internet users can’t use Google and WhatsApp, they have Chinese equivalents, Baidu and WeChat.

Meanwhile, Amazon shut down its online store in China earlier this year in the face of poor sales trying to compete against Alibaba.

Isn’t China already crafting its own parallel internet?

“An isolated Chinese internet is cut off from the rest of the world,” says Ms Cook. “And what is worrying is that other countries are copying what China is doing by blocking access to certain sites or slowing down net service during protests or rallies.”

Prof Yang says it would only benefit China to usher in more Western companies seeking to bring its services to the country. “For example, competition with Chinese local telecom companies will spawn the invention of new technologies and new services that people can afford and utilize. Competition brings forth innovation.”

Prof Seo isn’t optimistic China will change its online tune anytime soon. “Since China has replaced Western media with their own apps and sites, they don’t really need western tech companies.”

Other experts are hopeful that a splintering of the Internet won’t be permanent.

Prof Yang says: “One day, I’d like to see the Great Firewall come down, just like the Berlin Wall did.”

Source: BBC News – China
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Meng Wanzhou: Oil paintings and books for Huawei executive fighting extradition

A Chinese Huawei executive who was arrested in Canada a year ago has published an open letter detailing her life on bail and thanking supporters.

Meng Wanzhou – the chief financial officer and daughter of Huawei’s founder – is fighting extradition to the US on charges of violating sanctions against Iran.

In her widely read letter, she said she had time to “read a book” and “complete an oil painting” while on bail.

Her arrest sparked a diplomatic row.

China has always said the charges against Ms Meng are politically motivated.

Shortly after her arrest, two Canadians were detained in China, but Beijing says the cases are not related to Ms Meng.

Michael Spavor, a consultant with links to North Korea, and Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat who works for an NGO, are accused of spying – although Canada has called their detention “arbitrary”.

They are being held in a detention centre and are allowed only infrequent visits from consular staff. On Monday, Mr Kovrig’s employer tweeted that he had yet to see a lawyer or his family.

In April, it was reported that both men were being interrogated for between six to eight hours a day, and were sometimes subject to 24-hour artificial lighting.

In July, guards reportedly confiscated Mr Kovrig’s reading glasses.

What has Meng Wanzhou said?

Ms Weng’s letter was published on the Huawei website and on social media, on the anniversary of her detention.

In it, she thanked her supporters in Canada, saying the applause in the public gallery after the court granted her bail, 11 days into her detention, had “made her burst into tears”.

As part of the bail conditions, Ms Meng was given an electronic tag, and a 23:00-06:00 curfew, but was allowed to travel around much of Vancouver.

“When I was in Shenzhen [in China], time used to pass by very quickly,” Ms Meng wrote on Sunday night.

“I always felt like I was being stretched thin and that there was never enough time to get everything done.”

Now, she wrote, time passes so slowly “I have enough time to read a book from cover to cover. I can take the time to discuss minutiae with my colleagues or to carefully complete an oil painting”.

She also praised “the kindness of people here in Canada”, and “the kindness of the correctional officers and inmates at the Alouette Correctional Center for Women” where she was detained.

Ms Meng is fighting extradition to the US, where she is wanted for a host of charges, including evading sanctions on Iran – something she and Huawei deny. Her case is due to be heard in January.

She made no comment on the allegations in the letter.

BBC Monitoring said the version of the letter posted on Huawei’s social media channel had had more than 60 million views by Monday morning.

‘The princess of Chinese tech’

News of Meng Wanzhou’s arrest in 2018 broke just after China’s president Xi Jinping and Donald Trump sat down to dinner in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the G20 summit, to thrash out trade war issues.

The two leaders came to an understanding and a truce was signed – but thousands of miles away in Canada, a new battle was just beginning.

Ms Meng’s arrest was seen as a turning point in the US-China trade war; an illustration of how serious the Trump administration was about going after Huawei – particularly on issues like technology theft and violations of American law.

For China, Ms Meng’s arrest was seen as an attack like no other. If Huawei is the crown jewel of Chinese tech, then Ms Meng is its princess.

Although Beijing denies it, the detention of the two Canadians Mr Kovrig and Mr Spavor was widely seen as punishment for taking sides – and a warning to other countries who might consider copying Canada’s decision.

What is happening to Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig?

The two Canadians were detained in December, shortly after Ms Weng was detained.

Their detention led to a diplomatic and trade row, with China blocking tens millions of dollars’ worth of Canadian pork and vegetable oil exports.

They were formally arrested in May, and can be held for up to 13-and-a-half-months before charges are filed, the Canadian government says.

In September, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused China of “using arbitrary detention as a tool to achieve political goals”.

And last month, Canada’s new foreign affairs minister told his Chinese counterpart the two men’s case was his “absolute priority”.

“In particular, I expressed my concern and the concern of all Canadians regarding the conditions of their detention,” Francois-Philippe Champagne said.

But China has rejected accusations of arbitrary detention, saying the two Canadians had “engaged in suspected activities endangering national security”.

China’s ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, also accused Canada of “arbitrarily detaining [Meng Wanzhou], which violates her legitimate rights”.

“These two cases they are very much different in nature,” he said. “For those two Canadian citizens there is no arbitrary arrest at all.”

Source: BBC News – China
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