Huawei Rejected by Three in Four Canadians on Eve of 5G Decision
(Bloomberg) -- More than 75% of Canadians say that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government should ban China’s Huawei Technologies Co. from taking part in the build-out of fifth-generation telecommunications networks, a new poll shows.
The surge in disapproval of Huawei reflects public outrage that has simmered since December 2018, when China imprisoned Canadian business executives Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig within days of Canada arresting Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition request. The two Michaels, as they were known, were held in grim conditions for more than 1,000 days.
The two men were released last month immediately after Meng boarded a plane home to China after striking a deal with the U.S. to resolve the criminal charges against her. Canada and its Western allies accused Beijing of “hostage diplomacy,” while China insisted the cases were unrelated.
If Trudeau bans Huawei, that could further inflame relations between the two countries. Canada had delayed it for nearly three years as the fate of the two Michaels hung in the balance. The country’s closest allies, including the U.S., U.K. and Australia, have ordered outright bans of the company.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a regular press briefing Tuesday in Beijing that Canada “should provide a fair, just, open and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese companies.”
“Huawei’s 5G products have been recognized for their cutting-edge technology and security by the vast majority of operators in the world,” he said. “Canada should abide by an objective and just attitude, and independently make a decision in keeping with its own interests.”
A separate poll by Nanos Research for Bloomberg News showed that 36% of Canadians believe the relationship with China was permanently damaged by its jailing of the executives. The survey was conducted between Sept. 30 to Oct. 3 by telephone and online. The margin of error is 3.1 percentage points.
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