Meng Wanzhou: China park rewards Huawei phone owners

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Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei, 2 October 2014Image source, EPA
Image caption,
Ms Meng is chief financial officer of Huawei, the world's second-biggest smartphone maker

A popular tourist attraction has become the latest Chinese company to show solidarity with Huawei's chief finance officer, Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Canada on 1 December.

Shennong Mountain Scenic Park in eastern Henan province said it would waive the $9.40 (65 yuan) ticket fee for anyone carrying a Huawei phone.

Ms Meng, who was given bail in Canada, faces extradition to the US on charges of breaking Iran sanctions.

Her case has upped tensions with China.

"Use Huawei phones, shoot grand photos on the mountain," a notice on the Shennong park's social media account said. "We wish friends around the world who support Huawei success and bliss."

But it was met with some criticism among China's social media users, who claimed it was discriminatory.

Huawei phone owners are being offered other enticements too. They can get a 20% discount at a bar in Beijing.

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At least one firm has threatened to penalise anyone buying Apple products.

A few days ago, Menpad - a Shenzhen-based LED and display manufacturer - offered subsidies to any employees buying Huawei phones. It also pledged to fine anyone who bought an Apple iPhone.

Why the focus on Huawei?

US prosecutors allege Ms Meng, 46, used a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom to evade sanctions on Iran between 2009 and 2014. They also allege she publicly misrepresented Skycom as being a separate company from Huawei, and that she deceived banks about the true relationship between the two companies.

Ms Meng, who is the daughter of Huawei's founder, has denied any wrongdoing and said she will contest the allegations.

The US has been investigating the Chinese telecoms giant, the world's second largest smartphone maker, since 2016, believing that it used Skycom to bring US manufacturing equipment and millions of dollars in transactions to Iran in violation of sanctions.

Ms Meng's detention comes amid an increasingly acrimonious trade dispute between Washington and Beijing.

What has China said?

China is angry at her detention, saying she has not violated any laws. Beijing has threatened severe consequences unless Canada releases the executive.

Since her arrest, two Canadians - a former diplomat and a businessman - have been detained in China on suspicion of harming national security.

What have the US and Canada said?

US President Donald Trump said last week that he might intervene in the US justice department's case against Ms Meng if it would serve national security interests or help achieve a trade deal with China.

"If I think it's good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made - which is a very important thing - what's good for national security, I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary," he told Reuters news agency.

Canada reacted by urging Mr Trump not to politicise the situation. "Our extradition partners should not seek to politicise the extradition process or use it for ends other than the pursuit of justice," Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said.