The question of whether Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies Co is a private or state-owned company has been the subject of much discussion. To truly ascertain its nature, one must first have concrete knowledge of China’s historical traditions as well as its party-building strategies.
In 1928, Mao Zedong (毛澤東) began restructuring the Chinese Red Army, and pioneered the thinking of “the party branch building upon the company,” known as the “Sanwan adaptation” (三灣改編).
A military company would be counted as a basic element of the Red Army, which is where the Chinese Communist party (CCP) would attach its subsidiary, using it as a way to build upon the unit to tightly control its soldiers in every aspect of their thinking and fighting spirit, and to target them with its indoctrination.
The adaptation became the basic premise of the CCP’s party and armed forces-building philosophy and policy.
Each company has a CCP representative, the higher echelon battalions, regiments and corps have party secretaries, and each platoon and class has party subgroups.
These party secretary and leaders control every aspect of hierarchy in the armed forces, and they hold greater power than the leaders of their respective units. This way, the CCP consolidated absolute control over the armed forces, and easily absorbed the Chinese armed forces as its own “pretorian guard,” and initiated the policy of “party controlling the guns.”
When the CCP took over China, it followed Mao’s thoughts on party-building, viewing it as the top priority for the nation and stressing that “the party controls everything.”
Again, according to the thinking of the party building upon the company, the CCP directed every aspect of party-building, encompassing every corner of the country. From villages, factories, community organizations, classrooms and laboratories, to private and state-owned businesses, all levels of educational institutions and telecommunication companies, no one is exempt from having within their organizational structure some form of party subsidiary or subgroup. As a result, every public or private entity would have in their ranks party secretaries.
These secretaries exercise more power than government officials — village elders, managers, board members, school principals and judges have to do their bidding. Even courts have to rule according to the directives of the party secretaries.
The grassroots party organization has become an integral part of China’s administrative structure. There is not one aspect of society that does not have them.
When Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) became general secretary of the CCP, he continued to carefully oversee the work of party building, in some ways even more zealous in carrying the mantle of Mao’s thoughts.
The Chinese leadership’s emphasis on the “party’s all-encompassing control” is based on the assumption that once a party organization is established within an entity, the party can guide, control, assume control of and use it for its own ends.
What about Huawei? It was founded in 1987 and has established a party committee within its ranks. Some reported that as early as 2007, Huawei’s party committee had 300-plus party subsidiaries under its umbrella, with more than 12,000 party members.
Huawei’s party committee secretary is Zhou Daiqi (周代琪), who joined the company in 1994 and is also its chief executive officer as well as head of its Ethical Compliance Office.
Huawei’s founder and president Ren Zhengfei (任正非), a member of the CCP, joined the party in 1978 and served as a party representative in the CCP’s 12th national representative meeting in 1982.
According to the CCP’s philosophy of “party leading everything,” Huawei’s ultimate head is not Ren, but Zhou. Ren is a party member and therefore has to follow the edicts of Zhou, who in turn receives his instructions from the party.
Ren also has to report to Zhou on the company’s day-to-day operations, and be on the receiving end of critiques and directives.
In accordance with the party’s constitution dictating that “the individual obeys the organization,” whatever the party committee decides, be it stealing, deception or even spying, Ren has to accept and carry out its wishes.
Huawei is not an independent, self-governing enterprise and is not, strictly speaking, a state-owned business, but a sort of “party enterprise.”
It is not a tool of the Chinese government, but is more of a tool of the CCP.
The CCP allows Huawei employees to ostensibly hold 98.9 percent of stock options to give the impression of a private enterprise, so that it can be a pawn in China’s expansionist ambitions, to pull the wool over the world’s eyes and for the world to lower its guard, so that the CCP could do as it pleases.
In China, there is no such thing as a private enterprise.
Ren has been working hard to deny the company’s relationship with the CCP.
In an interview with CBS, he said: “In the past 30 years, Huawei had never given any scrap of intelligence to the Chinese government, and it would continue never to do so.”
This is a blatant lie, the CCP has been firmly lodged within the very heart of Huawei’s operations and this marriage between the two entities is undeniable.
There are some who maintain that the US government has not shown concrete proof of Huawei’s collaboration with Chinese intelligence agencies and that it has been loosening its questioning of Huawei’s threat to national security — this is a very dangerous development.
The CCP is an entity that works against people’s core values and carries out a one-party dictatorship. It often goes back on its word and lies without blushing.
The CCP is also a secretive, tightly organized, disciplined and scheming political fortress. To know and believe that Huawei is a party enterprise is to further understand how this dangerous organization works within Huawei.
Hopefully, Western governments and its leaders would cut any ties with this most dangerous entity to protect their interests and security.
Florence Mo Han Aw is a writer based in Canada.
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