Chinese telecoms manufacturer denies spying claims (again)

Huawei HQ

Huawei HQ

By IAN ALLEN| intelNews.org |
Huawei Technologies is one of China’s fastest-rising corporations. Founded in 1988 to import Western office telephone systems to China, the company today has become one of the country’s leading exporters, producing all kinds of hi-tech communications hardware equipment, ranging from routers to cell towers and undersea cables. But, as intelNews has indicated on several instances, Huawei’s export growth has been hampered in recent years by widely circulated suspicions that the company maintains close ties to the Chinese military and intelligence establishments. In 2009, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) investigated one of Huawei’s Australian-based subsidiaries for links to Chinese intelligence operations. In the following year, the Indian government barred the company from operating in India, citing its allegedly “strong links with the Chinese military”. In August of 2010, several American senators called for an investigation into a proposed collaboration between Huawei and US-based Sprint-Nextel, arguing that the Chinese hardware manufacturer is “effectively controlled by China’s civilian and military intelligence establishment”. Further controversy erupted in the United States in February of this year, when another group of American Congress members accused Huawei of having supplied telecommunications equipment to Iran and the Afghan Taliban. The controversy around Huawei, which currently employs over 110,000 people in China and beyond, centers partly on its founder and chief executive owner, Ren Zhengfei. A former Director of the People’s Liberation Army’s Engineering Corps, Zhengfei founded Huawei a few years after retiring from his government job. His critics claim that he never truly retired from the PLA, and that he maintains routine links with the Communist Party of China, of which he is a member, as well as Chinese military intelligence. These accusations have prompted the company to embark on an intensive public relations campaign, aiming to convince the West that the spying accusations against Huawei are unfounded. The company recently invited Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper to visit its worldwide headquarters in Shenzen, in China’s Guandong province. In an article describing his visit to Shenzen, the newspaper’s technology correspondent, Christopher Williams, quotes Huawei’s chief legal officer, Dr Song Liuping, who argues that negative impressions of Huawei in the West “are not in line with the truth” and “stem from media and political parties”. Liuping says that Huawei is determined to play a leading role in the worldwide telecommunications hardware industry and that it will continue “to address the concerns of the US government”. The company recently launched a new range of smartphones that, according to the Telegraph article, company executives “hope will make Huawei a household name”.

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

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