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By Tang Ziyi / Dec 19, 2018 05:52 PM / Economy

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China has become the first country to approve a cutting-edge medicine for anemia, as Beijing pushes to expedite its drug-approval process.

This is reportedly the first time China has approved a treatment from an international drugmaker before any other country.

The drug, roxadustat, from AstraZeneca and Fibrogen China, treats anemia caused by chronic kidney disease in patients on dialysis.

AstraZeneca said it will manage the drug’s marketing in China, and FibroGen China will oversee its regulatory affairs. The drug is expected to launch in China during the second half of 2019.

AstraZeneca said around 120 million patients in China have anemia caused by chronic kidney disease, with an estimated 500,000 patients on dialysis because of the condition.

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By Teng Jing Xuan / Dec 19, 2018 05:14 PM / Politics & law

China’s foreign ministry spokesperson said she “has not heard” about the detention of a third Canadian in China, hours after the reports emerged in Western media.

Spokesperson Hua Chunying made the comment during a regular press conference on Wednesday, according to Huanqiu.com, the Chinese-language site of party newspaper Global Times.

Canada’s National Post previously reported that the Canadian government has confirmed the detention of another of its citizens.

The two previous arrests of Canadians were of ex-diplomat and International Crisis Group advisor Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor. Kovrig and Spavor are both being investigated for “jeopardizing national security,” according to Chinese media.

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By Teng Jing Xuan / Dec 19, 2018 03:28 PM / World

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Canada has confirmed the detention of a third citizen in China, Canada’s National Post reported Wednesday.

No further details are available at the moment, the National Post said.

The two previous arrests of Canadians were of ex-diplomat and International Crisis Group advisor Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor. Kovrig and Spavor are both being investigated for “jeopardizing national security,” according to Chinese media.


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By Bloomberg / Dec 19, 2018 11:01 AM / World

Meng Wanzhou leaves her home under the supervision of security on Dec. 12. Photographer: Ben Nelms/Bloomberg

Meng Wanzhou leaves her home under the supervision of security on Dec. 12. Photographer: Ben Nelms/Bloomberg

U.S. efforts to prosecute Chinese nationals for criminal activity, such as the current effort to extradite a Huawei Technologies Co. executive who was arrested in Canada, are based on years of investigative activity and not politics, a top U.S. Justice Department official said.

“Law enforcement is what we do at the Justice Department," John Demers, head of the department’s National Security Division, said in an interview Tuesday on Bloomberg Television. “We follow those facts to see if there are violations of U.S. law."

Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the technology company’s founder, was arrested in Canada this month at the request of the Justice Department, which wants to extradite her to the U.S. to face criminal charges for alleged dealings with Iran. The U.S. has warned Beijing could employ Huawei’s networks for espionage, something the provider of telecommunications and networking equipment has always denied.

Demers said such cases are “based on years’ worth of investigation” and are “not something we thought of in the last year or so.”

President Donald Trump has suggested he might intervene in the case as part of his efforts to boost a China trade deal, raising concern that independent law enforcement operations might be used as bargaining chips.

Demers said extradition requests aren’t matters that he and his team talk to the White House about. He declined to comment specifically on the case of Meng, or on efforts by Turkey to have the U.S. extradite cleric Fethullah Gulen.

China has taken a “rob, replicate and replace approach to economic development” in stealing intellectual property from companies in the U.S. and other countries, Demers said. He said the U.S. has been “very patient” waiting to see if China would change its approach, but so far it hasn’t.

Related: 

Huawei Bans Cast Spotlight on China’s New Generation of Corporate ‘Mutants’

In-Depth: Huawei’s Odyssey Heads Into Uncharted Waters

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By Isabelle Li / Dec 18, 2018 06:15 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Finally, some good news for fans of Italian luxury brands.

One month after Chinese e-commerce sites dropped Dolce & Gabbana from their platforms over a scandal-making ad campaign, a different Italian seller has become available to online shoppers in China.

On Tuesday, Luxury brand Bottega Veneta launched a flagship store on Tmall, China's biggest online-shopping platform, Alibaba confirmed to Caixin. To highlight the opening, Bottega Veneta chose to debut its latest luxury handbag on Tmall two weeks earlier than in its brick-and-mortar stores.

Bottega Veneta is the second brand from France’s Kering Group – one of the world's three largest luxury groups – to open a store on Tmall. Kering is not the only luxury giant to launch flagship stores on China's e-commerce platforms, however: Richemont, which owns Cartier and Chloé, announced in October that it would establish a joint venture with Alibaba to bring luxury brands to online customers.

Dolce & Gabbana, however – another Richemont brand – remains in purgatory after its publicity disaster a few weeks ago.

Tmall's Luxury Pavilion has embraced more than 80 brands by far, including Valentino, Versace and Burberry.


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By Teng Jing Xuan / Dec 18, 2018 05:58 PM / Society & Culture

The world’s 2018 gender equality report card is out — and China’s grades are even worse than last year’s.

China ranks 103 out of 149 countries in the world for gender equality, down from last year’s 100 out of 144, according to an annual report by the World Economic Forum published Friday.

This year marks the fifth year in a row that China’s Gender Gap Index Score has worsened. The index measures women’s opportunities in politics, education, health and the economy. The U.S. ranks 51st this year, while Iceland tops the list.

The largest gap between China’s score and the global average is in the area of politics, where the lack of women in parliament and ministerial positions put its “political empowerment” score far below much of the rest of the world.

And while China, like most other countries, has nearly perfect equality in terms of healthcare, its serious gender imbalance at birth — far more boys are born each year than girls — still puts it at the bottom of world rankings in terms of women’s health and survival.

Related: Gender Imbalance Shows No Sign of Disappearing, Experts Say

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By Noelle Mateer / Dec 18, 2018 05:36 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China’s coffee battles are frothing over. Startup Luckin will partner with Meituan Dianping or coffee delivery, the South China Morning Post reported Tuesday, citing “people familiar with the situation.”

In August, Starbucks announced a partnership with Ele.me, the delivery giant owned by Alibaba.

If the cooperation goes forward, users will be able to order Luckin Coffee’s products on Meituan’s app, according to SCMP’s unnamed source. Luckin already delivers coffees via Chinese courier SF Express, but Meituan’s delivery infrastructure is more advanced – and is a major Ele.me rival.

Competition between coffee chains heated up in May after Luckin vowed to sue Starbucks over allegations of unfair competition.

Related: Coffeehouse Startup Sees Delivery as Brew for Success

 

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By Tang Ziyi / Dec 18, 2018 05:09 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

A Shanghai drugmaker has won approval to launch a cutting-edge cancer therapy in China, becoming the first domestic firm to compete with two American rivals in the novel PD-1 cancer-treatment space.

Shanghai Junshi Biosciences received the green light from China’s National Medicine Products Administration on Monday, the regulator said.

The injectable drug belongs to a group of biology-based cancer treatments known as PD-1 inhibitors, shorthand for programmed cell death protein 1 inhibitor, which uses a patient’s own immune system to destroy cancer cells.

China is one of the world’s largest markets for cancer treatments. In 2016, sales of anti-cancer drugs in China reached 102 billion yuan ($14.9 billion), accounting for 18% of the global market, according to market research firm IMS.

Related:

Beauty Salon Scam Convinced Customers to Pay 1 Billion Yuan for Fake Cancer Drugs

Money-Losing Cancer Drugmaker Looks for Funding With Hong Kong IPO

Novartis Bets on Beijing Approving Cutting-Edge Cancer Treatment


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By Charlotte Yang / Dec 18, 2018 03:45 PM / Politics & law

A photo of former International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch is displayed on a screen at the Great Hall of the People. Photo: VCG

A photo of former International Olympic Committee President Juan Antonio Samaranch is displayed on a screen at the Great Hall of the People. Photo: VCG

There are many who have been friendly to China over the years. But only 10 made the list broadcast on CCTV Tuesday morning: the winners of the China Reform Friendship Medal.

This morning at the Great Hall of People, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang honored these foreigners as part of the high-profile gathering to celebrate the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up.

But who are the honorees? The list is as follows:

· Alain Mérieux, a French medical entrepreneur

· Werner Gerich, the first "foreign factory director" during China's reform and opening-up

· Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum, who was recognized as an “international activist who promoted China’s economic exchange and cooperation with the outside world”

· Konosuke Matsushita, founder of Panasonic

· Masayoshi Ohira, former Japanese prime minister

· Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first prime minister

· Juan Antonio Samaranch, the 7th President of the International Olympic Committee

· Stephen Perry, promoter of Sino-British economic and trade exchanges

· Maurice R. Greenberg, former chairman of American International Group, who promoted Sino-foreign economic cooperation

· Robert Kuhn, a public intellectual who wrote a biography of China’s former leader Jiang Zemin


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By Timmy Shen / Dec 18, 2018 03:24 PM / Finance

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

China may allow local governments to issue bonds at an earlier-than-usual date next year, underlining the urgency to invigorate the country's slowing growth.

The Ministry of Finance usually starts granting quotas for new local government bond issuance in April, after the National People's Congress (NPC) approves the figures at their annual sessions in March. But in 2019, such quotas are expected to be granted in the first quarter, according to a proposed meeting agenda on the NPC website.

The move could beef up local authorities' financial strength to invest in infrastructure and boost growth next year, which analysts have widely expected to slow from this year.

Analysts are also betting the PBOC may cut the reserve requirement ratio, the amount of cash banks must keep in reserves, in January to offset the impact of the earlier sale of local government bonds, because the debt issuance may squeeze banks' ability to lend and push up interest rates.

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Related: Bumper Bond Issuance Aims to Prop Up Flagging Growth

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By Charlotte Yang / Dec 18, 2018 12:41 PM / Politics & law

Jack Ma of Alibaba (left) and Pony Ma of Tencent. Photo: VCG

Jack Ma of Alibaba (left) and Pony Ma of Tencent. Photo: VCG

Viewers of today’s high-profile gathering to celebrate the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up will have noticed some familiar faces in the audience.

Alibaba’s Jack Ma, Tencent’s Pony Ma and Baidu’s Robin Li, the heads of China’s three prominent tech giants, were awarded by the state for their contributions to reform and opening-up.

In all, China acknowledged 100 people for their “outstanding contributions” to the development agenda Tuesday morning at Beijing’s Great Hall of People. Honorees included a wide range of people from scholars to diplomats and investors. Basketball player Yao Ming, scientist Yuan Longping and economist Yifu Lin were included.

Access the full list in Chinese here.

 


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By Caixin Global / Dec 18, 2018 10:18 AM / Economy

Today Chinese leaders will gather to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the country's reform and opening. Follow this space for live updates, and follow our Twitter accounts for breaking news: @Caixin and @CaixinLive.

You can stream the event here.

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12:15 p.m.

Xi's speech, and the ceremony for the 40th anniversary of reform and opening, have concluded.

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11:59 a.m.

Xi: "We must support an open, transparent, inclusive and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system. We will focus on building the Belt and Road ... And no matter how much China develops, it will never seek hegemony."

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11:40 a.m.

Rejecting foreign interference in China’s development, Xi said China must hold its destiny in its own hands with its own standards.

“There is no such preacher who can order the Chinese people around,” he said. “For things that need to be changed and can be changed, we will resolutely change them. For those that should not or cannot be changed, we definitely won’t change them.”

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11:20 a.m.

Xi says China has upheld the "norms of international relations."

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Xi on the anti-corruption campaign: "No tolerance has been shown in the crackdown. The fight against corruption has achieved overwhelming victory."

11:12 a.m.

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Xi: China's GDP has grown 9.5% on average over the past four decades, outpacing the global rate of around 2.9%.

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Xi says China's long-term social stability has made it one of the world's safest countries in the world.

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Above: Basketball legend Yao Ming reads along while Xi delivers his speech.

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11:03 a.m.

Xi reaffirms that China will let the market play a "decisive role" in resource allocation for the economy.

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View of the large number of attendees at the Great Hall of the People.

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10:48 a.m.

Xi quotes Deng: "If we don't make reforms now, our course to modernization will be doomed."

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10:20 a.m.

Politburo Standing Committee member Wang Huning announced awards for personnel who've made "outstanding contributions to the country's reform and opening-up."

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Above: President Xi and Premier Li hand awards to individuals who have made "outstanding contributions" to China's reform and opening-up.

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The song played during the awards portion was "The Story of Spring" (春天的故事), a patriotic song about Deng Xiaoping, the father of China's reform and opening-up.

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[This page is being updated regularly]

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By Tanner Brown / Dec 18, 2018 10:13 AM / Business & Tech

Google CEO Sunday Pichai in Washington last week. Photo: VCG

Google CEO Sunday Pichai in Washington last week. Photo: VCG

Google has shelved plans to build a filtered search engine for China, after internal company disputes and objections from employees, The Intercept reported Tuesday.

Rumors of a possible reentry to China made headlines when they were first reported in August. The company shuttered its China-based search engine in 2010 due to Beijing’s strict self-policing policies. But talk of the return this year provoked immediate backlash from employees, U.S. lawmakers, and Amnesty International, as Beijing requires all internet sites in the country to police themselves and remove sensitive content.

The Intercept reported that teams that had been working on the project — nicknamed Dragonfly — have now been given different assignments.

Word of the internal reshuffling echoes recent public comments from Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who told the U.S. Congress last week that “right now” the company had no plans to launch the search engine, though he declined to rule it out for the future.

Related: Google Faces Major Backlash to Controversial China Return Plan

 


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By Bloomberg / Dec 18, 2018 09:54 AM / World

India has offered the Maldives $1.4 billion through a credit line and budgetary support as the tiny island nation’s new government pivots from a pro-China foreign policy to one focused on its close neighbor India.

The loan agreement came after talks between newly-elected Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two leaders discussed regional stability and defense cooperation as Solih visited the Indian capital on his first trip overseas as president.

The Maldivian leader made the visit as his nation reels from debt accumulated under the previous administration of pro-China strongman Abdulla Yameen, who had pursued close ties with Beijing -- including a trade deal -- and had alienated India. The numerous loans from China were similar to other countries in the region including Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

"Both nations are committed to the peace, stability and security of the Indian Ocean region," Modi said in New Delhi on Monday. "Both nations have agreed not to allow their territory to be used against each other’s interests."

In late September, the tiny nation of about 400,000 people voted Yameen out of office in a surprise election result that took on broader geopolitical significance as China’s Belt and Road infrastructure-building initiative was generating anxiety in the region and in Washington.

China has spent years building ports, roads and other infrastructure across the Indian Ocean, including the $1 billion Hambantota port in Sri Lanka it recently took over in a debt-to-equity swap.

New Delhi is particularly concerned about China’s investments in its neighborhood, in part because Beijing is financing infrastructure projects valued at about $60 billion across Pakistan, including in parts of disputed Kashmir that both New Delhi and Islamabad claim as their territory.

More recently, however, Pakistani militants attacked the Chinese consulate in the business hub of Karachi, killing seven people, while other governments -- including Malaysia -- reconsider or postpone projects because of concerns about their cost.

A visiting group of Maldivian ministers had previously pledged to pursue an " India first" foreign policy when they visited New Delhi in late November.

The country was seeking a credit line of around $1 billion at a concessionary rate of 1.5 percent and $200 million in "grant money" for budgetary support, Maldivian Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer said at the time.

Related:

Portugal Agrees to Promote Belt and Road as EU Moves to Raise Scrutiny

China, Myanmar Move Ahead With Sea Port Project


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by Isabelle Li / Dec 17, 2018 07:54 PM / Business & Tech

Users of yet another sharing service are having trouble getting their deposits back. 

This time it is the vehicle-sharing venture Togo that is having refund issues, local media reported Monday.

Users in Beijing, Shenzhen and Chengdu have complained that they are having unexpected difficulties getting their deposits back from the platform.

The amount of the deposit is 1,500 yuan ($218), five times more than the typical deposit for bike-sharing services in China.

Under Togo’s user agreement, the company is supposed to return user deposits within seven days of a refund request, the Beijing Daily reports. However, some users have been waiting more than two months for their refunds.

China’s internet industry embraced a shared economy boom in recent years, but several companies have suffered deposit refund problems as cash flow pressures have weighed in on these "innovative" platforms.

The scandal comes as a surprise given that Togo had just announced in October that it had raised tens of millions of dollars in its latest round of fund raising. In addition to Togo, many other car-sharing services, such as that of online services giant Meituan, have been shuttered or sold off due to financial problems, according to previous media reports.

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By Tang Ziyi / Dec 17, 2018 06:50 PM / Politics & law

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Sun Bo, former general manager of the state-run China Shipbuilding Industry Corp., was expelled from the Chinese Communist Party and stripped of all public positions on suspicion of taking bribes and severe disciplinary violations, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) announced on Monday.

He was also accused of "engaging in superstitious activities," the commission said.

Sun Bo became the general manager of the aircraft carrier maker, as well as the deputy secretary of the corporation’s party committee, in March 2015. The CCDI announced he was under investigation in June of this year.

 


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By Mo Yelin / Dec 17, 2018 06:35 PM / Business & Tech

Users of the shared-bike app Ofo are going to great lengths to get their deposits back. The customers are so frustrated that they’ve taken to showing up at the company’s Beijing offices. 

A line of more than 100 people formed in Ofo’s office lobby and spilling outside of the company’s Beijing headquarters on Monday. So many people joined throughout the day that police arrived to maintain order, Caixin has learned.

Ofo users across China have complained about not receiving refunds even after the company’s maximum wait of 15 days after applying. Users are seeking refunds on the deposits once needed to use the shared bikes, some 99 yuan ($14.30) and some 199 yuan. 

But even the users showing up at the office couldn’t immediately get their money. Instead, they were asked to write down their personal information, including the bank account info, with the promise that they would get the money within three days, local media reported.

Related: Cash-Strapped, Money-Losing Ofo Says It Will Soldier On

 


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By Isabelle Li / Dec 17, 2018 05:50 PM / Business & Tech

Richard Liu. Photo: VCG

Richard Liu. Photo: VCG

E-commerce giant JD.com’s finance unit has undergone a minor shakeup that’s seen embattled founder and CEO Richard Liu replaced as the company’s largest shareholder by … Richard Liu.

The latest public records show that Liu, who stands accused of rape stemming from a U.S. case dating back to August, has recently seen his personal stake drop in JD.D, previously known as JD Finance. The drop to 14.02% from a previous 16.67% is significant, because the latter figure was enough to make him the company’s biggest stakeholder.

But following the reduction, the biggest single shareholder now becomes a limited partnership registered in Liu’s hometown of Suqian in east China’s Jiangsu Province. And guess who controls that partnership, which holds 16.13% of JD.D? Of course that would be Liu, who is the majority stakeholder.

The company had no comment on the minor reshuffle.

Liu was accused of rape in August by a student in the U.S. state of Minnesota, in a case where prosecutors are still weighing whether to bring charges.

JD.com’s stock has slumped by over 30% since the rape allegation. The company, the second largest e-commerce player in China after Alibaba, was listed on the Nasdaq in 2014, and still counts Liu as the man in control with 79.5% of its total voting rights. JD Finance is one of JD’s three key sub-businesses besides JD mall and JD logistics.

Related: Rape Investigation for Internet Tycoon Richard Liu Wraps Up

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By Yang Ge / Dec 17, 2018 05:41 PM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Property-turned-entertainment conglomerate Wanda Group is getting more introspective, announcing a plan to invest 12 billion yuan ($1.74 billion) on a tourism project in the city at the terminus of the Communist Party’s well-known Long March of 1934 to 1935.

The massive project will occupy 1,900 mu (1.3 square kilometers) in the Gaoxin district of the city of Yan’an, a city in central China’s Shaanxi province, according to a company announcement over the weekend. About a third of the total investment will go to entertainment, including educational elements and a tourism village themed on the Long March.  

Construction will begin early next year and should wrap up by 2021, just in time for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party. The complex is part of a growing trend for the development of “red tourism” sites in China that feature various elements of the Communist Party’s history during its formative years.

The Long March is central to that lore, and saw the Communists go from eastern China’s Jiangxi province on a nationwide trek that ended in Yan’an as they fled the then-ruling Nationalists, in what they called a strategic retreat.

Wanda’s investment comes as the once globally-minded company starts becoming more inward-looking, following a Beijing crackdown on big conglomerates that became burdened by too much debt after big buying sprees. One of the company’s other big projects has been development of a similar cultural village at Danzhai in Guizhou province, another relatively poor area of the China.


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By Tang Ziyi / Dec 17, 2018 05:34 PM / Society & Culture

Shennongshan Sightseeing Zone in Henan. Photo: VCG

Shennongshan Sightseeing Zone in Henan. Photo: VCG

A tourist park in Henan has said it will let Huawei phone-owners in for free — just weeks after a top executive of the company was arrested in Canada.

Shennongshan Sightseeing Zone (神农山风景名胜区), a geological park in Henan, said tourists need simply show a Huawei phone at the gate and their 80-yuan ($12) ticket fee will be waived.

The park cast the move as a gesture of solidarity with Huawei. On Dec. 1, the telecom company’s CFO, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada at the request of U.S. authorities, who say she was involved in financial transactions that violated American sanctions against Iran.

"Good wishes to friends who support Huawei around the world," the park said.

Related: In-Depth: The Shockwaves of Meng Wanzhou’s Arrest

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