Australians suspect Chinese networking firm of intelligence ties

Several months ago, Chinese networking investor Singtel Optus placed a very competitive bid on the Australian government’s $15 billion project to build the country’s first unified national broadband network. Now the Australians say they are suspicious of the company, because of its ties to China’s Huawei Technologies. Huawei is described as a “shadowy company based in Shenzen and founded by former People’s Liberation Army officer and Communist Party member Ren Zhengfei”. Concerns about possible ties between Huawei Technologies and Chinese intelligence agencies have been raised in the past. In 2005, the government of India cancelled an initial investment of $60 million on its telecommunications superhighway by the Chinese company. In early 2008, the US government prohibited Huawei’s purchase of a significant amount of shares in US network security equipment maker 3Com, which supplies telecommunications hardware to the US Department of Defense. Huawei has described the allegations as “ludicrous and inaccurate”. [IA]

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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