Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou Promoted as National Hero in China

By Jennifer Bateman
Jennifer Bateman
Jennifer Bateman
Jennifer Bateman is a news writer focused on China.
October 3, 2021 Updated: October 3, 2021

The release of Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, to China has been used by the CCP’s media to launch a wave of anti-U.S. propaganda and to promote Meng as a “national hero” against the United States in Chinese schools and kindergartens.

After reaching a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Justice Department, Meng took a chartered flight back to China on Sept. 24.

On Dec. 1, 2018, Meng was arrested by the Canadian police at Vancouver International Airport at the request of the U.S. Department of Justice. U.S. prosecutors charged Meng with bank and wire fraud. The Justice Department requested that she be extradited to the United States to face trial.

For almost three years, Meng has spent time with family in her Vancouver home.

After Meng arrived in Shenzhen, China, on the evening of Sept. 25, the website of the CCP’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection published an article early the next morning, saying that the United States was trying to obstruct or even interrupt China’s development process.

CCP mouthpiece The People’s Daily ran a commentary around the same time, calling Meng’s case a political witch hunt by the United States to target Chinese people and suppress Huawei, a Chinese technology company. Other articles in the CCP’s official media make similar arguments.

Regime outlet Guangming Daily went one step further. Its WeChat account “Educationist” posted an article titled “Today, tell students the story of Meng Wanzhou’s return home” and suggested using the Meng incident as a blueprint for students’ homework.

An assignment for Class 8, Grade 5 of the No. 2 Experimental Primary School in Zouping city, Shandong Province, was circulated online from Sept. 26. The assignment was titled “Thoughts from the Meng Wanzhou incident.” The following six questions were listed: “Who is Meng Wanzhou? Who was detaining her? Why was she detained? How was she rescued? What does the Meng Wanzhou incident tell us? As a primary school student, what hope do you have for your future?”

The Epoch Times called the No. 2 Experimental Primary School in Zouping on Sept. 29 for comment, but calls went unanswered.

A supermarket owner in Zouping, who asked not to be named, told The Epoch Times that the Meng case was used to brainwash students in school and he “felt sorry for the children, who know nothing at such a young age.” He said the Chinese people who are following the uproar are “really sick.”

He said Meng squandered the Chinese people’s hard-earned money abroad and lived in a luxury house in Canada, yet the Chinese are cheering for her.

On Chinese social media platform Weibo, a user named “Chichi Cat” confirmed on Sept. 27 that her daughter’s school was teaching about the Meng incident. Another user named “Li just walks on regardless” also said that schools are organizing students to watch videos of Meng returning home. User “Little grapefruit in the world” saw a sign about Meng Wanzhou when passing the school radio station.

One user posted “a paragraph from the class meeting themed Meng Wanzhou given by the school.” Another posted that the Meng incident was discussed in the ideological and moral cultivation class of third grade students. It was compared with the War of Resistance against Japan and Syria, which “became a successful patriotic education lesson.”

Henan University, which has exchanges and cooperation with Huawei, reprinted a Sept. 26 article on Meng’s case by the CCP’s state-run news agency Xinhua ahead of its Sept. 27 article about Huawei executives’ exchange activities at the university, saying that Huawei was “suppressed and blocked by many countries” and had “national integrity.”

Li Yiming, a media professional in Japan, told The Epoch Times how the CCP has used the Meng incident in its patriotism brainwashing education for primary school students.

Li said while Meng was under surveillance in Canada, the CCP portrayed her in a very positive light. The Chinese Internet was overwhelmed by propaganda describing her as an anti-American hero. With no role model to set, the CCP is using the incident to make Meng what it wants to be, he said.

“This is what the CCP does all the time. It always needs to set up something to advertise its value theory and get people to listen to it,” Li said. “In some places, she is even discussed in class to brainwash the teenagers.”

In Li’s view, the CCP may have two purposes in making Meng an anti-American hero. One is that since no one believes in the CCP now, it’s just the right time to stir up the common people. Another is that due to the overall downturn in various industries, people are dissatisfied with the authorities. By doing this, it can stimulate people’s patriotic enthusiasm as well as divert their attention, Li said.

Kane Zhang contributed to this report.

Jennifer Bateman is a news writer focused on China.