China’s Huawei, one of the world’s largest telecom giants, has been accused of being used for spying for the Chinese government. Although there has been no actual evidence presented publicly, it has been widely suggested the firm has been involved in both security and commercial trade secret theft.
With the development of the new 5G networks underway, some countries have banned Huawei from competing in providing equipment. The U.S leads the way in the banning of the Chinese firm.
British Telecom (BT) has begun removing Huawei equipment from its existing 3G and 4G networks and will not use Huawei as it moves toward 5G although the British government has not issued a ban. Australia has indicated the Chinese firm as well as another Chinese telecom ZTE, will not be involved in its 5G developments as has New Zealand. Germany is considering a ban, as is Canada.
Huawei equipment is already in use in Canada in existing networks but reports say this country may follow suit in not allowing them to participate in development of the 5G net.
Complicating the situation is the Canadian arrest of a top Huawei executive sought on an extradition request by the U.S.
China is livid and strongly demands the return of the executive, and has responded by arresting two Canadians in China on charges of posing a danger to Chinese security, A third Canadian arrested on drug charges has seen his case suddenly retried and the sentence increased from a jail term to the death sentence. China has also threatened other reprisals if the executive is not freed and allowed to return to China
The puts Canada in an even more awkward situation than it’s already in, and it is expected any announcement of a ban will be delayed as long as possible. It is believed that the U.S. has been warning Canada about the alleged dangers of using Huawei equipment.
Now, adding to the pressure is a recent declaration this week by the U.S envoy to the European Union.
Quoted by Bloomberg News, U.S. Ambassador Gordon Sondland said “There are no compelling reasons that I can see to do business with the Chinese, so long as they have the structure in place to reach in and manipulate or spy on their customers”.
Adding a warning to others about possible U.S countermeasures, Sondland added, ““Those who are charging ahead blindly and embracing the Chinese technology without regard to these concerns may find themselves in a disadvantage in dealing with us”.
The warnings seem to have gained some ground in Europe, where it was noted that the Chinese National Intelligence Law of 2017 requiring all firms and individuals at home and abroad to cooperate with the state intelligence agencies. Andrus Ansip, European Commission vice president for digital affairs said the law increases the risk in dealing with Chinese companies.