BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: On Tuesday, when the Senate Judiciary Committee expressed a growing bi-partisan sense of dismay about Chinese telecommunications manufacturer Huawei and its influence on impending 5G wireless technology standards, Adonis Hoffman of Business in the Public Interest republished the OpEd excerpted below on the Media Institute’s blog. The piece, originally published in The Hill, attempts to make the case that installing Huawei equipment is tantamount to permitting spying by Beijing. It is worth noting that, at a March 15, 2019, press event in the People’s Republic of China, Premier Li Keqiang responded as follows to a question about surveillance: “You asked whether the Chinese government will ask Chinese companies to ‘spy’ on other countries. Let me tell you explicitly that this is not consistent with Chinese law. This is not how China behaves. China did not and will not do that in the future.”
Only one way with Huawei — don’t let it control 5G, from The Hill:
President Trump has taken a firm stand against Huawei, the Chinese telecom behemoth — and for good reason. Huawei is not your garden-variety Chinese company in the same vein as Tencent, Alibaba or Baidu. By many credible accounts, Huawei is a corporate extension of the Chinese government, replete with Beijing back channels and generous government support.
In a report released by the U.S. Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence back in 2012, Huawei and ZTE Corp, another Chinese company, were described as potential threats to U.S. security interests precisely because of Chinese government involvement. Last month, the U.S. Navy reported it was under intense “cyber-siege” by Chinese hackers. These follow a litany of allegations that have Huawei engaged in spying, commercial espionage and intellectual property theft over many years.
Despite Huawei’s denials, an independent research paper by Donald Clarke of George Washington University and Christopher Balding of Fulbright University Vietnam, concluded Huawei’s controlling holding company is 99 percent held by an entity called a “trade union committee,” which typically means heavy government involvement.
Huawei was founded in 1980 by a former engineer for the Chinese military who garnered an initial investment from the Chinese government. The company has grown from a small, dedicated defense supplier to a global giant whose products include smartphones, tablets, network components and enterprise services for both Chinese and foreign customers. It has become the largest cellular equipment supplier in the world — bigger than its next two competitors, Nokia and Ericsson, combined — and is an essential supplier for 4G and 5G networks worldwide.
(Photo from Reuters of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (right) shaking hands with President Xi Jinping after Li was re-elected to another term in 2018.)