Meng Wanzhou: Your warmth lights my path

On the first anniversary of her arrest in Vancouver, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou pens an open letter about her days under house arrest. In an emotive account, she says the strength she draws from warm words and gestures will light her way forward. This is the English translation of her full letter in Chinese. The original Chinese version of her letter is included at the end.
Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to appear in British Columbia supreme court for a hearing, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, September 30, 2019. An ankle bracelet is also seen as she leaves for her court hearing. (REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson)
Huawei Technologies Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou leaves her home to appear in British Columbia supreme court for a hearing, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, September 30, 2019. An ankle bracelet is also seen as she leaves for her court hearing. (REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson)

Winter is near. The mountains and forests are dyed a deep crimson. Nature’s beauty is clear for all to see. 

It is not my wish to linger, but I’m trapped. The seasons change, time moves, it’s been a year.  

This past year, I experienced fear and suffering. I felt disappointed and helpless. I faced turmoil and struggle.  

This past year, I learnt to be strong under pressure, to take things in my stride, and to be fearless in the face of uncertainty. 

Time seemed to fly past when I was in Shenzhen. My daily schedule was packed to its brim and I was always rushing from one place to another, or from one meeting to the next. Breakfast meetings, lunch appointments, and night "engagements” are standard practice for Huawei people. Back then I wished I could be at multiple places at any one time. There was never enough time to get everything done. Multitasking was the only solution, and a reality for all Huawei employees. Our tireless efforts were replicated from the east of the Pacific to the west of the Atlantic, and from the northernmost point of the Arctic Ocean to the southernmost point of the South America continent. This is the exact reason why I didn’t have time to soothe my heart, take in the scenery, and reflect on the passing seasons.

Busyness quickens time. Suffering slows the years.   

Now, time seems to flow slowly. So slowly that I can read a book from cover to cover, that I can discuss minutiae with my colleagues. I am even able to take time to meticulously complete an oil painting. 

An entire year slipped through my fingers, little by little. It is a year of companionship, of warmth and encouragement, that will always remain in my heart.  

My Huawei colleagues, for instance, often left notes on the Xinsheng Community (a social media platform for Huawei employees). Any news of mine was read with interest. 

Amidst dark and challenging times, our clients and suppliers chose to grant us more trust, more support, and more patience, driving us to work even harder.  

There was always a long queue outside the courts at each of my hearings. Your enthusiasm and support always warmed my heart.  

My colleague even shared that the delivery man would leave sticky notes with the words “Hang in there, Huawei” or “Keep going, Huawei” on our delivery slips — a few simple words warmed us instantly. These little things helped us to push forward.  

Countless netizens left their replies below any type of news relevant to Huawei — some warm, some resolute, some long, some short, some moving, some down-to-earth — all of them expressed their trust and support, and of course, their unending care for us.   

The kindness of the people here in Canada is unforgettable. The kindness of the correctional officers and inmates at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women helped to tide me over the toughest days of my life. When the judge granted bail to me, the applause in the public gallery made me burst into tears. After a whole night of heavy snow, workers of the security company thoughtfully shovelled a path for my elderly mother, warming our hearts on that cold winter day. 

Every court hearing burdened court officials with additional workload. I would like to say to them, “Thank you, and sorry for the trouble.”  

Countless moments like these never fail to bring me warmth and strength. Thank you for standing by me. Your presence felt like the first warmth of spring. Each and every encounter in this river of memories, give me the strength to soldier on. Because of your encouraging words and thoughts, I’m able to read another book, attend another lesson. I no longer feel far away from home, nor am I afraid of the rough road ahead. While my personal freedoms have been limited, my soul seeks to be free. Amidst despair, I’ve learnt to savour life's goodness.  

The word deng (灯, light) is made up of the characters huo (火, fire) on the left, and ding (丁, man) on the right. Huo represents hope, while ding represents humanity. Where there is man, there is light, and when we gather, we create a myriad of lights. Light gives us warmth and shows us the way. Amidst the darkness, light empowers.  

My dear friends, your warmth is the lighthouse that guides my way!  

Meng Wanzhou, 1 December 2019, Vancouver