Huawei has sued the U.S. government, noting that its charges against the Chinese telecommunications giant were unfair and incorrect. The goal isn’t to repeal the U.S. ban on Huawei networking equipment, but rather to expose to other countries that the U.S. government has no evidence to support the charges.
“The U.S. Congress has repeatedly failed to produce any evidence to support its restrictions on Huawei products,” a statement attributed to Huawei chairman Guo Ping reads. “We are compelled to take this legal action as a proper and last resort.”
The lawsuit will force the U.S. government to make its arguments against Huawei public. This will work in Huawei’s favor, as the government doesn’t have any hard evidence to support its claims that the firm is a security threat. Instead, the U.S. government is driven by xenophobia and fear that Huawei’s relationship with the Chinese government, which is normal in that country, will help that government spy on the U.S.
Huawei also pointed out the hypocrisy of a U.S. government that was found, thanks to Edward Snowden’s leaks, to have illegally hacked Huawei’s network to steal information.
“The U.S. government has long branded Huawei as a threat, [but] it has hacked our service and stolen our emails and source code,” Mr. Guo explained during a press conference. “Still, the U.S. government is sparing no effort to smear the company and mislead the public about Huawei.”
The United States has, of course, pursued Huawei via other channels too, none of which are related to its fears of China-based surveillance. For example, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, is currently being detained in Canada on behalf of the United States on charges that the firm violated U.S. sanctions on Iran. The U.S. has also lobbied many other countries, with mixed results, to ban Huawei networking equipment.
In the UK, for example, Ciaran Martin, the leader of the National Cyber Security Center, said that Huawei has been present in that country’s telecommunications networks for over 15 years and is subject to strict security reviews, none of which have ever led to any suspicions.
“Our regime is arguably the toughest and most rigorous oversight regime in the world for Huawei,” he said, adding that Huawei’s networking equipment “is not in any sensitive networks, including those of the government. Its [hardware] is part of a balanced supply chain with other suppliers.” He said that any alleged security risks could easily be managed.
Not everyone agrees, of course. Some countries have joined the U.S. in banning Huawei from the coming years-long push to establish 5G networks around the globe. And others are currently debating whether to do so.
“We need to be able to vet individual cases in order to ensure our critical infrastructure is protected,” German lawmaker Katharina Droege told Al Jazeera. “That could lead to the exclusion of Chinese firms from building our 5G infrastructure.”