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Huawei employee claims he was jailed for wanting severance pay

A former Huawei employee has claimed he was jailed for eight months after demanding severance pay from the Chinese phone giant.

Li Hongyuan, 35, who said he had worked for the company for 13 years, released court documents purportedly showing that he was held in January for extortion then released in August due to lack of evidence.

The news came as Julian King, Britain’s outgoing EU commissioner, suggested that the European Union would not impose a blanket ban on Huawei building 5G mobile networks but could warn its governments against using the Chinese company.

Mr Li was detained in Shenzhen in December last year, after he had been sued by Huawei for “suspected extortion”. He claimed he was ultimately paid around 300,000 yuan (£33,000) severance fee, sent via a Huawei secretary’s personal bank account, with a reference saying the transaction was “economic compensation for termination”, according to reports.

The company cited the 300,000 yuan in the secretary’s account as evidence of the supposed extortion, but prosecutors dropped the charges in August.

Messages supporting Mr Li went viral on Chinese social media, with people raising questions about Chinese law punishing employees fighting for their labour rights.

Huawei has been asked by The Telegraph to comment on Mr Li’s case.

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