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Beijing accuses US of trying to ‘strangle’ Chinese firms in response to Huawei crackdown

 Beijing accuses US of trying to ‘strangle’ Chinese firms in response to Huawei crackdown
China has lambasted the US for its “unreasonable bashing” of Chinese companies, including Huawei, and attempts to “strangle” them after Washington unveiled charges against the technology giant.

“For some time, the US has been using national power to tarnish and crack down on specific Chinese companies in an attempt to strangle their lawful and legitimate operations,” China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said on Tuesday.

READ MORE: US accuses Huawei of stealing trade secrets & dodging Iran sanctions

The ferocious response came shortly after US prosecutors unsealed charges against Huawei, accusing the world’s largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer and its affiliates of fraud and violations of US sanctions against Iran. The US Department of Justice also claimed that Huawei conspired to steal trade secrets of American company T-Mobile to “gain [an] unfair advantage in the global marketplace.”

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“We strongly urge the US to stop its unreasonable bashing on Chinese companies including Huawei, and treat them objectively and fairly,” the spokesman told reporters, adding that China will continue to protect “the lawful and legitimate rights and interests” of its companies.

One of the US indictments singled out Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Wanzhou Meng, also known as “Sabrina Meng.” Meng, who was arrested last month in Canada and faces extradition to the US, is charged with bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracies to commit bank and wire fraud.

China has repeatedly slammed the US and Canadian authorities for the Huawei CFO’s “unreasonable” detention. On Tuesday, Beijing reiterated its call on Washington to “immediately withdraw” the arrest warrant against Meng and also urged the Canadian authorities “stop risking its own interests for the benefits of the US” and immediately release Meng.

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Huawei issued a separate statement, saying it was “disappointed to learn of the charges.” The company denied that it or its subsidiaries “have committed any of the asserted violations” of US law and said that it "is not aware of any wrongdoing” by Meng.

The escalating tensions between the US and China come as the Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He landed in Washington DC for talks to resolve the ongoing trade row between the two countries. The previous round of US-Sino talks was held in Beijing on January 7-9. The existing ceasefire in the US-China tariff war expires on March 1, meaning that the two sides have merely a month to settle the trade dispute.

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