Huawei Executive’s Life in Detention Seems Luxurious to Some Canadians

Those who offered collateral to facilitate her bail reflected the city, where pedestrians with yoga mats can be seen walking and residents talk obsessively about property: They included a part-time yoga instructor and the realtor who sold Ms. Meng and her husband their two imposing homes.

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Ms. Meng is the eldest daughter of Ren Zhengfei, Huawei’s founder, and rose from being a secretary to the public face of the company. During her bail hearing in December, her lawyer, David Martin, said she was looking forward to spending some quality time with her family during her detention.

She hadn’t “read a novel in years,” he told the court, adding that she was considering pursuing a doctorate in business administration at the University of British Columbia, where Huawei is financing millions of dollars of research and development, including into 5G wireless networks.

Mr. Li, the university student who studies China’s political economy, said Ms. Meng’s case had divided students on campus, with some from mainland China tending to sympathize with her plight and others viewing her arrest as Canada merely trying to apply the rule of law.

Wenran Jiang, a senior fellow at the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia, noted that for some Chinese immigrants in the city, Ms. Meng’s arrest had tapped into deep-seated historical memories of Canada’s discrimination against Chinese people.

Between 1885 and 1923 the Canadian government imposed a “head tax” on Chinese immigrants intended to limit arrivals. And Chinese immigration, with rare exception, was banned altogether in 1923, a ban that lasted more than two decades.

“Vancouver is a very Asian city so there is a deep fascination with Meng because she is such a high-profile Chinese person,” he said. “For some, she has become a powerful symbol of Chinese people once again being subjugated.”