Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei’s youngest daughter’s debut sparks debate
The sharp contrast in the lives of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei’s two daughters sparked heated online debate on Chinese social media on Thursday when the youngest announced her foray in the entertainment sector, while the elder sibling remains under house arrest in Canada, and is seen as a pawn in China-US rivalry.
Huawei heiress, Annabel Yao, said on her Weibo account that she signed a contract with Beijing TH Entertainment Co as “a special birthday gift” on Thursday, with the company releasing exclusive poster series called “Breaker”. The debutante daughter of Ren, a Harvard University graduate who had previously made a high-profile appearance at the exclusive Le Bal Debutant ball in Paris has come into public view in recent months after she opened a Weibo account in last December.
“As much as I enjoy coding … I have a passion for fashion, PR and entertainment,” Yao said in earlier media reports.
As a member of China’s ultra-rich class, Yao was born in 1998 and took her mother’s surname as did her elder sister surnamed Meng, who was arrested in Vancouver in 2018 on behalf of the US and faces fraud charge, causing an international incident. Yao has also made headlines, but for every different reasons.
On the day Yao announced her plan to become a star in the future, Meng attended a court hearing in Canada, where it was revealed that she had received “five or six” death threats mailed to her residence last summer. The Vancouver Police Department was involved in examining the threats, Reuters reported.
Some Chinese netizens said the two daughters of Huawei’s founder are living completely different lives. Some consider Meng “the poor girl” who has been detained as a political hostage. “What a contrast, the elder sister is suffering overseas while the younger one is making high-profile debut,” a netizen said.
“Some questioned Yao’s decision while Meng has become an iconic figure amid US-China confrontation, but I think it’s all about their personal choice,” another netizen said.
Posts about the siblings have ranked among the top 10 trending topics on China’s Twitter-like Weibo. While the post about Meng receiving death threats in Vancouver had been viewed 180 million times by late Thursday, the post about Yao making her debut has been viewed 620 million times.
It appears that the Canadian foreign ministry has made a statement on Meng’s husband and children coming to meet her in Vancouver after they were granted permission, Zhao Lijian, spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry, told a routine press conference on Thursday. “It is normal for governments around the world to deal with matters involving each other’s citizens on the basis of mutual respect and reciprocity,” said Zhao.
The comment was made after Zhao said at the request of the Canadian side, the Chinese authorities, in a humanitarian spirit and on a lawful basis, have allowed detainees Kovrig and Spavor to talk over the phone with their family respectively during Christmas time, and both Kovrig and Spavor thanked Chinese authorities for the arrangements.