On December 1, 2018 Huawei CFO (Chief Financial Officer) Meng Wanzhou was taken into custody at Vancouver International Airport. Meng (her Chinese family name, commonly known as Cathy or Sabrina Meng, is the daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei). RCMP detained Meng on request of the U.S. government, arrested under terms of a reciprocal Canada/U.S. extradition treaty. The U.S. Department of Justice formally charged Meng with financial fraud on January 28, 2019. She’s accused of defrauding multiple financial institutions in violation of U.S. imposed bans on Iran. On January 20, 2020 extradition hearings commenced in Vancouver. This Wiki link provides a great overview – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meng_Wanzhou
It came as no surprise following Meng’s 2018 arrest when members of Vancouver’s Chinese national community protested outside the courthouse –
Fast forward to an image taken yesterday. See any Chinese national protesters? Confused by a cluster of young Caucasian awkwardly holding signs obviously penned by the same person? Ponder this – at least two protesters have spoken publicly on how they were lured to courthouse steps under false pretences and paid to be there. Actor Julia Hackstaff (far right in the image) was contacted on Facebook by someone she didn’t know, $100 for 2 hours work as an extra in a movie shoot. From CBC –
Hackstaff says she and a friend were told by her contact to go to the Holiday Inn a few blocks away and then brought to the courthouse. When they arrived, they approached a group of young people who looked “lost” she assumed were background actors.
“I went and asked, ‘Are you guys the extras?’ And one guy said yes. He then asked me my name and my friend’s name. So we gave him our first names and he checked on his phone like [as] if he had a list.”
Hackstaff said she was handed a red sign that said “Free Ms. Meng, Equal Justice!” Soon after, she began questioning what was actually going on.
“A CBS reporter approached me and my friend and she started interviewing us. And it was in those moments and questions where I started realizing, OK, if this was background work, they wouldn’t need detail on background people.”
“And then I started realizing, wait, no one called ‘action,'” she said.
Hackstaff says she “freaked out” when a second reporter approached, coming to the realization that the movie she thought she was appearing in was, in fact, something very real. She says that’s when she left without being paid.
Demonstrators outside B.C. Supreme Court on Day 1 of Meng Wanzhou’s extradition hearing Monday. Actor Julia Hackstaff, far right, says she was told she was appearing as an extra in a movie shoot. (Georgie Smyth/CBC)
The hubris of foreign meddlers to target actors on Facebook, use social media to message friends of friends is jaw dropping. Vancouver might be a globally inconsequential backwater, but we’re not stupid. Did China and/or immigrant Chinese loyalists actually believe an ill-conceived debacle to fraudulently lure paid protesters would spark public sympathy? News flash – Astroturfing (the practice of masking sponsors in support of political, religious or social issues to make it appear support/protest originated from grassroot sentiment) never, and I mean absolutely never end well – the truth always comes to light, bullshit always calls instigators out. Astroturf recipes try to bake pinnacles of arrogance into scrumptious morsels of delusion. In plain English – shame on those responsible for Meng’s Astroturf gong show, we’re not buying your biscuits.
The outcome of Meng’s extradition will be determined by Canadian law. Canadians have little sympathy for foreign interlopers who think otherwise. To them I say – instead of wasting your time and our patience, consider brushing up on how things work in Canada.