A year after her arrest in the Vancouver airport, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. executive Meng Wanzhou says she has experienced “moments of fear, pain, disappointment, helplessness, torment and struggle” in Canada.
While she has been living in a $13-million mansion on the west side of Vancouver, Ms. Meng said the slow passage of time over the past 12 months has provided her the opportunity to finish reading books and complete oil paintings in detail.
Before, “I had never had the luxury of taking my time and enjoying my surroundings,” she wrote in a post to WeChat, the Chinese chat app, on Sunday night. She added: “Over the past year, I have also learned to face up to and accept my situation. I’m no longer afraid of the unknown.”
The conditions of Ms. Meng’s bail restrict her movements to the Vancouver area and require her to be monitored by a security detail and ankle bracelet.
But her sumptuous accommodations contrast sharply with the extensive interrogation and prison-like detention of two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were seized by authorities in China days after Ms. Meng’s arrest in what critics have called a direct reprisal and “hostage diplomacy.“
Ms. Meng did not mention the Canadian men in her online message.
In Vancouver, she has been regularly visited by family members and Huawei workers. She has the ability to write and communicate freely, including with a legal defence team that has sought to fight the extradition.
In China, authorities have allowed Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor only 30-minute monthly visits with consular authorities.
“China has been arbitrarily detaining our colleague #MichaelKovrig for 357 days. Michael is a Canadian national. He has yet to see a lawyer or his family,” International Crisis Group wrote on Twitter Sunday evening. Mr. Kovrig, a diplomat on leave from the Canadian government, worked as North East Asia senior adviser for ICG.
People who have spent time in Chinese detention facilities describe austere conditions, with detainees crammed in crowded cells, eating a diet of watery corn congee and flavourless steamed bread and with no privacy to use the bathroom or shower.
For months after their arrest, Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor, who Chinese authorities have accused of state secrets violations, were kept in conditions such as solitary confinement, in facilities where lights were never turned off and they could not see outside. Interrogators questioned them for up to eight hours a day.
The Chinese government has loudly demanded the release of Ms. Meng, claiming the charges against her are political in the midst of a broader dispute between Beijing and Washington over trade, espionage and intellectual property.
Ms. Meng, the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei, is the tech giant’s chief financial officer and deputy chair.
U.S. prosecutors accuse her of fraud related to violations of sanctions against Iran, citing as evidence a 2013 presentation she made to a banker. They requested her extradition from Canada shortly before she landed in Vancouver on Dec. 1, 2018.
She was arrested before she could board a subsequent flight to Mexico, as part of what had been a busy executive schedule.
“Time used to pass by very quickly. Every day, my schedule was fully packed and I was constantly rushing from place to place, and from meeting to meeting,” Ms. Meng wrote on Sunday.
But “if a busy life has eaten away at my time, then hardship has in turn drawn it back out,” she wrote in her note.
“While my personal freedoms have been limited,” she wrote, “my soul still seeks to be free. Amidst these setbacks, I’ve found light in the life around me.”