UK report accuses Huawei of collusion with China
UK lawmakers have urged the country to accelerate the removal of Huawei devices from its 5G mobile infrastructure. The UK Defense Committee has published a detailed report calling on the government to consider whether the ban can be postponed from 2027 to 2025. Officials say there is "strong evidence" of collusion "between the company and the Chinese Communist Party apparatus." It is also recommended that other nations work together to rebuild information technology manufacturing capabilities that were lost when so much of this industry was originally outsourced to China.
The report begins by listing the usual lines of attack against the company, including founder Ren Zhengfei's membership in the Communist Party and working for the People's Liberation Army. (Something Huawei has long claimed is not relevant to its entrepreneurship.) It adds that, as a Chinese company, it could be asked to conduct espionage in accordance with the country's 2017 National Intelligence Law. And although the UK's National Cyber Security Center has seen "no concrete evidence" of hostile acts, it is believed that Huawei will add back doors to its products. Previous reports have pointed to flaws in Huawei's development that, while not being intentional backdoors, could be used that way.
The report has consulted a number of sources including venture capitalist André Pienaar, Henry Jackson Society colleague Christopher Balding, and Roslyn Layton, founder of China Tech Threat. These numbers indicate the subsidies the company has reportedly received and its opaque ownership model as reasons for a ban. The report adds that the use of Huawei devices in the UK has caused some dismay among other members of the Five Eyes intelligence sharing network.
As much as the documents appear to criticize Huawei, they also serve as an indictment of successive government policies towards IT and manufacturing. One of the reasons Huawei was able to reach such a large portion of the market was because of its low price. This was not supported by a "lack of diversity in the entire telecommunications supply chain" which, according to the report, "creates the possibility of national dependence on individual providers". The fact that the three main players are Nokia, Ericsson, and Huawei is essentially not good enough given the current geopolitical situation.
Huawei has already told CNBC that the report was "not credible" and "based on opinions rather than facts." It adds that people are expected to "look through these baseless allegations of collusion" and instead look at company records for the past two decades.
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