China’s commerce minister accused the United States late last week of showing a “Cold War mentality” following a Congressional panel report exposing possible espionage potential of Huawei for the Chinese government.
The United States House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee filed a report last month that Huawei-made networking gear could threaten the security of the country’s communications infrastructure. ZTE, another smaller tech company based in China, was also targeted as a potential tool for China to get critical information from America’s communications.
The Congressional panel mentioned that a Communist Party cell is evident within the company, and that it was a major cause for concern.
Just this week, another U.S. congressional panel complained that Chinese investment in the United States had produced 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 commented. Chen Deming is a Communist Party member who was present on the 18th Party Congress as the country tries to select a new set of stable leaders for the coming decade.
“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,” he added.
Every Chinese business owned by the state as well as an increasing number of private companies are required to have a Communist Party secretary at the top echelons of management. Most, if not all, cases see top management personnel as belonging to the Chinese Communist Party themselves.
Both companies targeted by the Congressional panel are not state-owned. ZTE is owned by different institutions while Huawei is owned by its employees.
The basis of suspicion by the U.S. Congress is the fact that Huawei was founded by Ren Zhengfei, a retired People’s Liberation Army officer. The company strongly denies any ties with Chinese military and claims it is a private business.
Reacting to the congressional panel report, the Commerce Ministry of China fired back last month by saying the report was lacked evidence.
“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,” Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang noted.