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Huawei CFO updates her prison diary

Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei CFO being held in Canada awaiting deportation to the US to stand trial, had publicly reflected on her challenging year.

Published on the bit of the Huawei site reserved for broader publicity initiatives such as CEO interviews, Meng’s account is headed ‘Your warmth is a beacon that lights my way forward’. That sets the scene for a narrative focused on how tough the year since her arrest in Canada has been. She contrasts her busy life as a Huawei exec with her boring one under house arrest, in which she has so much spare time that she can now read books and even do some painting.

The warmth referred to seems to be messages of support from Huawei colleagues on the company’s internal messaging board and the crowds that turn up whenever she appears in court. On top of that even people delivering take-aways to Huawei campuses have left messages of encouragement such as “Go Huawei!” and “You can do it, Huawei!”

The prison diary is careful to send good vibes to her captors, from the Alouette Correctional Center for Women, to her security entourage, to the staff of the court she periodically attends. All this, says Meng, has given her the strength to keep on keeping on. “I’m no longer afraid of the rough road ahead,” writes Meng. “While my personal freedoms have been limited, my soul still seeks to be free. Amidst these setbacks, I’ve found light in the life around me.”

While we have no reason to doubt Meng’s sentiments are anything other than heartfelt, the fact that Huawei chose to publish this letter on its propaganda site does make you question the thinking behind the whole exercise. Huawei is clearly on a publicity drive ahead of Meng’s extradition hearing next month and its PR people have also taken the trouble to flag up this fairly accommodating piece on the matter from a Canadian publication. If Huawei is hoping to generate sympathy for Meng’s plight it might need to be a bit more subtle than this.

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