China detained Huawei employees over Iran deal: NYT

In a bizarre move five citizens from China were detained for their private social media chat about the technology giant Huawei’s sales to Iran, according to report in the New York Times.

Two of the detainees told NYT that they were imprisoned for eight and three months, respectively.

All five former employees of Huawei were attending the WeChat group when one of them said he could prove that the company had sold technology to Iran.

The discussion about Iran took place on December 11, according to NYT.

The five men were involved with some dispute with Huawei. Weeks after the chat arrested all five were arrested and interrogated.

The arrests came about two weeks after Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter were arrested in Canada on charges of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.

The USA has officially accused Huawei and its chief financial officer of illegally sending US equipment and technology to Iran and transferring money out of the country by deceiving U.S. banks.

For Huawei, not all sales to Iran would have been illegal, NYT says, adding, “In principle, only those involving U.S.-origin goods, technology or services would have fallen afoul of American sanctions. The company has said its sales in Iran were for commercial civilian use and did not violate sanctions.”

Huawei was not only monitoring the former workers’ chat but that it was willing to take advantage of authorities’ protectiveness to silence critics.

If Li and others offered evidence that Huawei broke sanctions, it could have serious repercussions for China.

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