China’s envoy to the EU on Monday said Huawei was the victim of slander as western governments try to hamper the Chinese telecommunications giant’s effort to deploy its technology worldwide.
“It is not helpful to make slander, discrimination, pressure, coercion or speculation against anyone else,“ Ambassador Zhang Ming said in an interview with the Financial Times.
“Now someone is sparing no effort to fabricate a security story about Huawei,“ he said.
Beijing’s criticism follows similar words by Foreign Minister Wang Yi who said the campaign against Huawei was “unfair and immoral”.
The United States, France and other western nations have voiced fears that using Huawei base stations and other gear could give Beijing access to critical network infrastructure worldwide, possibly allowing it to spy on foreign governments.
In an interview with Bloomberg, European Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip said the EU was especially worried given China’s National Intelligence Law, passed in 2017.
This law compels companies and individual citizens to actively assist China’s spy organisations in investigations.
“When it’s written in the law, then we have to understand those risks are higher. We cannot be naive anymore,“ Ansip told Bloomberg.
The worries circle around 5G technology, in which Huawei has invested billions of dollars, competing mainly against Sweden’s Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia.
The United States, Britain and other countries have warned of potential Huawei security risks, not least since its founder Ren Zhengfei is a former People’s Liberation Army engineer.
Huawei officials bristled at the claims, and chairman Liang Hua warned this week that it would pull out of partnerships in countries where it is not welcome.
“We do not pose a threat to a future digital society,“ Liang said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last week.
Adding to the tensions, Canadian police arrested in December Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou — a daughter of the company’s founder — on a US warrant over suspected Iran sanctions violations.
China on Wednesday accused Washington of “bullying behaviour” after US authorities confirmed plans to seek Meng’s extradition.