Lawmakers telling US companies not to buy from Huawei and ZTE
Huawei and ZTE, two of China's largest and most successful mobile companies, are once again under fire in the U.S.
Over the last couple of days, the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee has received "dozens and dozens" of calls complaining about Huawei and ZTE, Reuters is reporting today, citing sources. Many of those calls reportedly came from current and former employees, as well as customers, who report odd behavior in the companies' equipment. It's not clear what sort of "odd" behavior they were witnessing.
Earlier this week, lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee issued a 52-page report outlining their concerns with Huawei and ZTE. The lawmakers argue that the Chinese firms cannot be trusted and that the companies weren't able to allay fears that if their telecom equipment were brought to the U.S., it wouldn't be used for espionage efforts on behalf of the Chinese government.
"Neither company was willing to provide sufficient evidence to ameliorate the Committee's concerns," the committee wrote in its report. "Neither company was forthcoming with detailed information about its formal relationships or regulatory interaction with Chinese authorities. Neither company provided specific details about the precise role of each company's Chinese Communist Party Committee."
Issues of espionage have been a common concern among lawmakers in countries where the companies would like to expand. Australia has been one of the more outspoken critics, saying, too, that it's concerned that Huawei will spy on its mobile users.
Now, Canada is getting into the mix. The country's government yesterday said that it would likely ban Huawei products from a government communications network that it's constructing, citing possible security risks.
With the latest complaints now filtering into the U.S., Reuters says that the Intelligence Committee plans to further investigate Huawei and ZTE.
Meanwhile, Huawei and ZTE have proclaimed their innocence, saying any claims that they are involved in espionage for the Chinese government are baseless. In a House committee hearing last month, Huawei made its stance clear.
"We have never, nor will we ever, harm the networks of our customers," Huawei Senior Vice President Charles Ding told committee members at last month's hearing. "This would be corporate suicide."