China derides US concerns about telecoms companies

Reuters, BEIJING

Sun, Nov 11, 2012 - Page 5

The US is exhibiting a “Cold War mentality” with its fears that Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer Huawei poses a security risk because of its ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming (陳德銘) said yesterday.

The US House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee warned last month that Beijing could use equipment made by Huawei, the world’s second-largest maker of routers and other telecoms gear, as well as rival Chinese manufacturer ZTE, the fifth largest, for spying.

The report cited the presence of a CCP cell in the companies’ management structure as part of the reason for concern.

The state role in business prompted a US congressional advisory panel to complain this week that Chinese investment in the US had created a “potential Trojan horse.”

“Can you imagine if China started asking US companies coming to China what their relationship was with the Democratic or Republican parties? It would be a mess,” Chen, himself a CCP member, told reporters on the sidelines of the 18th Party Congress, which is to usher in a new generation of leaders.

“If you see me as a Trojan horse, how should I view you?” he said.

“By this logic, if the Americans turned it around, they would see that it’s not in their interest to think this way,” he added.

All Chinese state-owned enterprises and a growing number of private Chinese firms have a CCP secretary at the top of their management structure. In most cases, the top management are themselves party members.

Neither Huawei nor ZTE is state-owned. Huawei is owned by its employees and ZTE by different institutions.

Suspicions of Huawei are partly tied to its founder, Ren Zhengfei (任正非), a former People’s Liberation Army officer.

Huawei denies any links with the Chinese military and says it is a purely commercial enterprise.

The Chinese Commerce Ministry last month dismissed the US’ suspicions as “groundless.”

“This report by the relevant committee of the US Congress, based on subjective suspicions, no solid foundation and on the grounds of national security, has made groundless accusations against China,” spokesman Shen Danyang (沈丹陽) said.