Huawei, China and Canada

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Huawei, China and Canada

Published on Jan 25, 2020 by Ashok Kasilingam

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Ever since the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver back in Dec 2018, Canada has been caught between two fires.

On one side, United States have made a strong case by presenting more than dozen of serious charges against the CFO as to why she should be extradited to United States. Sadly on the other side, China has detained couple of high profile Canadians (Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor) which is widely seen as a retaliatory measure from China for Meng Wanzhou's arrest.

Canada is in the midst of taking 2 important decisions - the rule of law will decide whether to extradite Meng Wanzhou to U.S or not for which latest proceedings have resumed in BC Supreme Court this week. The other one is about the role of Huawei itself in Canada - a company which is pushing to be deeply involved in building Canada's super fast new 5G network. 

The United States has already taken steps to block all Huawei involvement in its 5G networks, citing serious security issues. And U.S has been pushing hard with it's allies to reciprocate the same. Government of Canada is still weighing up its decision over Huawei.

The key question about Huawei here is trust. The issue of trust also extends to issues around security. If China would resort to arbitrary arrest and detention of Canadians to defend its corporate national champion (Huawei), what else it might it do if they had complete access to Canada's vital communications networks?

There are a lot of people who say that we need to rethink, seriously rethink what Canada's relationship is with China in 2020. But will that be possible, given the fact that China is a growing power and Canada and other countries are going to have to build a strong relationship or atleast productive relationship with China. 

So what gives China this competitive edge in the global arena, that other countries would rather not dare to isolate themselves from China. One of the key reasons which could be attributed for this is, the unprecedented developments in the Technology sector in China and the widespread acceptance of latest technology by Chinese people over the past decade which has given them a significant technological giant status - a coveted title which has undisputedly been held by United States specifically Silicon Valley Companies for so long.

We will dive deep into this technological might which China is currently boasting and how China reached here from a being a pure copycat of Silicon Valley companies in early 2000's, another time. Until then, fingers crossed on what Canadian government will decide on Huawei which will definitely have a wider ramifications either way. Happy Lunar new year :-)!

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