The Chinese telecommunications manufacturer Huawei faces strong, united international criticism from a plethora of states, raising security concerns over their 5G mobile telecommunications equipment.

Australia, The United States of America, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom have all expressed security doubts regarding the equipment being used for espionage.

Countries also fear that private firm Huawei has significant ties to the Chinese government. Huawei has denied the claim, emphasising that the only ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) that exist are paying the companies’ taxes.

On Decembers 1st, Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada. Six days later, it became public that Ms Meng was wanted by the US over fraud charges, after allegedly selling American-manufactured equipment to Iran.

The Supreme Court of British Colombia concluded that Ms Meng utilised a subsidiary of Huawei called ‘Skycom’ to evade the sanctions placed on Iran in 2009 and 2014. The Court stated that Ms Meng had not openly said that Skycom was a part of the Huawei firm.

Beijing has strongly condemned the “extremely nasty” arrest, claiming that Ms Meng had not broken the law.

These developments threaten to heighten China-US tensions, as Huawei is one of China’s crucial telecommunications and technology firms. There is danger in the situation turning into a major diplomatic dispute, jeopardising the somewhat improved China-US relations as evidenced by the 90-day trade war truce.

How Have Countries Responded?

GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre has put immense pressure on Huawei to reform and improve its systems. Huawei eventually caved, costing the company an estimated $2 billion. The UK, a key member of the Five Eyes Group, believes Huawei’s equipment contains serious security flaws and reinforces that the company’s history and ties to the Chinese government are of no concern.

The US has enacted a carpet-ban on all Huawei involvement in the construction of 5G mobile networks. The US, in a Congress report, stressed that “Huawei did not fully cooperate with the investigation and was unwilling to explain its relationship with the Chinese government or Chinese Communist Party”.

Australia has banned companies that would have “extrajudicial directions from a foreign government” from constructing 5G infrastructure. However, they did not name Huawei specifically.

New Zealand acted in similar vein, barring a request for mobile carrier Spark to use Huawei equipment for its 5G network.

Germany have not acted yet, however there is a drive from German officials and politicians to take similar steps and exclude Huawei from its 5G network infrastructure. This is in response to the German Interior Ministry’s statement, opposing banning any company from its 5G network.

Reports from Japan suggest a ban is inevitable, but Tokyo has declined to comment, merely highlighting the importance of cyber security in the country.

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Cam Hunter
Cam Hunter (@guest_442966)
5 years ago

We shouldn’t trust Chinese company’s full stop and we have to stop them taking over so many big European company’s!. And aren’t they going to be running the new British 5g network! Australia stopped them doing that there because of spying ect! We should to.

Lee1 (@guest_442979)
5 years ago
Reply to  Cam Hunter

No they are not going to be running the UKs 5G network. For a start BT have only allowed their equipment to be installed at non-critical points in the infrastructure.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_442971)
5 years ago

Have no doubt that what goes around comes around.

Are we really pretending the west does not do the same back?

One of the Snowden leaked slides shows China and much of Asia riddled with access nodes for NSA and, by extension, GCHQ spying equipment.

Or, more openly, look at what’s on the roof of 5 Eyes embassies.

Apoplectix (@guest_443124)
5 years ago

Of course the West would do the same thing. So obviously that’s why you don’t let a foreign company, especially one that works for a possible enemy run or build your telecommunications network.
In China all companies must do what ever the CCP asks. Even foreign companies have to, reference Google and Apple and others.

David Steeper
David Steeper (@guest_443181)
5 years ago

The difference is the west is democratic and Russia and China are dictatorships. If you don’t understand the difference there’s nothing I can do to explain it to you. To the best of my knowledge it’s quite a while since we annexed by force neighbours (plural) territory. Or unilaterally and illegally declared international waters to be our sovereign territory.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_443198)
5 years ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Lol. I think you’ve got the wrong end of the stick David. I’m talking about espionage, not politics or Russian chinese actions. I’m pointing out all sides do it, and that we are probably better and have even greater capabilities which we use. Which I’m pleased about. Snowdon was a traitor and should be treated as such. “If you don’t understand the difference there’s nothing I can do to explain it to you” I’ll take that as an insult wording it like that. You’re talking down at me like I’m some Russian Chinese apologist, which I’m not. SO I will… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_443211)
5 years ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Huh! OK I see where you come from now. Take this gem that you posted on 27/11/18 on the thread “Whats Happening in Ukraine” “The problem with pro-russian comments is that they’re from either 2 sources either that in/famous building in St.Petersburg. Or they’re brits here paid by the Russian state. In my whole life I’ve never come across a single brit who buys into russian propaganda so my thoughts on the people on this site who do are bought and paid for trolls until proved otherwise” So, if you maintain that narrow minded view you will always treat any… Read more »

Iqbal (@guest_443864)
5 years ago

The march of history is not on our side here. The success of the Chinese economy, as represented in telecoms by Huwawei, needs to be met with commercial, innovative technological and competitive reposte from Western companies. We can’t use artificial political methods such as banning Chinese companies from parts or entirety of our markets. The Chinese will inevitably retaliate and they are a ginormous market that we need more access to. I think we damage our own values when we undermine the integrity of our independent judiciary to arrest and effect extradition of third party nationals like Ms Meng. Trump… Read more »