Chinese smartphone vendors begins losing buyers
REUTERS/Aly Song

Chinese web users have come out in support of a former senior employee of the Chinese telecom group- Huawei, who allegedly filed a case of extortion against her for demanding severance pay.

Amidst rising anger among the public for the treatment meted out to its employee was further fueled by the public statement issued by Huawei.

"We respect the decisions of the judicial authorities, including the police, the procuratorate, and the court," Huawei said in a statement published by state broadcaster China Central Television. "If (the former employee) Li Hongyuan thinks his rights and interests have been violated, we encourage him to defend those rights through legal channels, including suing Huawei."

Li Hongyuan, 35, was arrested in January. The police raided his house in the middle of the night and first arrested him on charges of embezzling funds. The charges were later changed to blackmail and extortion. Li spent close to nine months in jail and was released for lack of evidence.

In November, the details of the case were posted online, following which the Chinese social media users hit back against Huawei.

During his illegal confinement, Li lost his father, who it is reported died out of the shock of his son's arrest. In November, Li was awarded 107,522 yuan ($15,227.16) by the State for wrongful confinement.

In the midst of increasing US sanctions over spying allegations, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd had gained much favor among the Chinese.

According to an exclusive, Reuters report, the Trump administration had plans to place Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL], the world's second-largest smartphone producer, on the Treasury Department's Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list.

The move would have made it impossible for Huawei to do any legal trading in US dollars. In recent months, Huawei has slowly been shifting its dependency on US-produced components. Recently, it released a phone that contained no American components and no Google Apps.

There are also reports that the Chinese telecom giant is planning to move its Research and Development unit out of the US and shift it to Canada.