China derides U.S. "Cold War mentality" towards telecoms firm Huawei

BEIJING Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:15am GMT

China's Minister of Commerce Chen Deming speaks during a news conference after a bilateral meeting with Colombia's Trade Minister Sergio Diaz Granado in Bogota October 2, 2012. REUTERS/John Vizcaino

China's Minister of Commerce Chen Deming speaks during a news conference after a bilateral meeting with Colombia's Trade Minister Sergio Diaz Granado in Bogota October 2, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/John Vizcaino

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BEIJING (Reuters) - The United States 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 Communist Party, China's commerce minister said on Saturday.

The U.S. 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 telecom gear, as well as rival Chinese manufacturer ZTE, the fifth largest, for spying.

The report cited the presence of a Communist Party cell in the companies' management structure as part of the reason for concern.

The state role in business prompted a U.S. congressional advisory panel to complain this week that Chinese investment in the United States had created a "potential Trojan horse".

"Can you imagine if China started asking U.S. companies coming to China what their relationship was with the Democratic or Republican parties? It would be a mess," Commerce Minister Chen Deming, himself a Communist Party member, told reporters on the sidelines of the 18th Party Congress, which will usher in a new generation of leaders.

"If you see me as a Trojan horse, how should I view you? By this logic, if the Americans turned it around, they would see that it's not in their interest to think this way."

All Chinese state-owned enterprises and a growing number of private Chinese firms have a Communist Party 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, a former People's Liberation Army officer. Huawei denies any links with the Chinese military and says it is a purely commercial enterprise.

The Commerce Ministry China last month dismissed the U.S. suspicions as groundless.

"This report by the relevant committee of the U.S. Congress, based on subjective suspicions, no solid foundation and on the grounds of national security, has made groundless accusations against China," spokesman Shen Danyang said.

(Reporting by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Comments (2)
Raymond.Vermont wrote:
Perhaps the concern is more of the firms Military Industrial relationship with the PLA. ( I think the Chinese CIA/KGB equivalent is referred to as the MSS, Ministry of State Security)

Nov 10, 2012 11:35pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
Raymond.Vermont wrote:
Huawei was founded in 1988 by ex-military officer Ren Zhengfei

Ren Zhengfei attended the Chongqing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, and then joined an People’s Liberation Army (PLA) research institute to work as a military technologist.

Kind of rings a few alarm bells if your an American House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee member. (Probably with good reason too)

Nov 10, 2012 11:42pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
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