Appeals Court Rejects China Telecom’s Appeal

In 2021, the FCC revoked the company’s authorization to provide telecommunications service in the United States.

Appeals Court Rejects China Telecom’s Appeal
Photo of FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr

WASHINGTON, December 20, 2022 – The District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday confirmed the Federal Communications Commission’s suspension of China Telecom (Americas) Corporation’s U.S. operations.

In 2021, the FCC revoked the authorization of the Chinese company’s American affiliate to provide telecommunications service in the United States, citing national security concerns. “China Telecom’s susceptibility to exploitation, influence, and control by the Chinese government poses unacceptable national security and law enforcement risks,” the agency wrote in a March 2022 filing.

In November, the FCC halted new approvals for technology deemed to threaten national security, including telecommunications equipment from Chinese tech giants Huawei and ZTE. Commissioner Brendan Carr has routinely called for action against the Chinese-originating social-media platform TikTok. U.S. officials have said TikTok gathers extensive data on users, and despite statements to the contrary, makes that data available the Chinese government.

“I am pleased with today’s ruling, which upholds our decision last year to revoke and terminate China Telecom’s authority to provide communications service in the United States,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel Tuesday in a statement. “This action was based on the recommendation of national security agencies that found that China Telecom’s operations in the U.S. provided opportunities for increased Chinese state-sponsored cyber activities, including economic espionage and the disruption and misrouting of U.S. communications traffic.

“There is no higher FCC responsibility than safeguarding our networks, and today’s ruling is a strong affirmation of our authority to do so,” she added.

A public version of the decision has not yet been released.

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