Major European firms reject US-led calls to boycott Huawei
Major European countries and telecom companies have rejected US-led calls for a boycott of Chinese electronics giant Huawei, dismissing accusations that the company uses its equipment to spy for Beijing.
The allegations against the Chinese telecom company were leveled after Poland’s counterintelligence service arrested Wang Weijing, a Huawei employee, along with a former Polish security official on January 8.
Even though no evidence of spying activities has been produced publicly and the company has repeatedly denied such claims, the allegations have led several Western governments to restrict Huawei’s access to their national markets, with Washington pushing its European allies to block Huawei from telecom networks amid a wider dispute over trade with China.
Poland has insisted, however, that the spying charges were related to individual actions and not directly connected with the international Chinese corporation.
Polish Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski said in a radio interview with local media on Saturday that, “We want to have good, intensive and attractive relations with China; it’s a huge market.”
The Chinese electronics giant terminated Wang’s employment on Saturday and said his alleged actions “have no relation to the company,” adding that the former employee “has brought Huawei into disrepute.”
Germany has seen ‘no evidence’ of spying by Huawei
German news magazine Der Spiegel said Germany — which is under pressure from Washington to boycott Huawei — had seen “no evidence” that the Chinese company could use its equipment to spy for Beijing.
Additionally, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom has announced a deal with Huawei for its future 5G network in Poland.
Portugal praises Huawei
Portugal signed a deal with Huawei in December 2018 during a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, praising the Chinese company’s “know-how, competence, talent, and capacity to develop technology and invest” in the southern European country.
‘Huawei equipment never found to be at fault’
According to AFP, telecom operators across Europe have also dismissed the security concerns.
“Everywhere in Europe, operators are the target of huge controls in that area and Huawei’s equipment has never been found to be at fault,” a spokesperson at a European operator anonymously told AFP.
“Huawei is much more expensive today than its competitors but it’s also much better,” the spokesperson said. The quality of Huawei’s equipment “is really ahead” of its European competitors, he added.
In the past weeks, Western countries have been trying to portray Huawei as a proxy for China’s intelligence service.
Pressure on Huawei mounted after the company’s chief financial officer was arrested last month in Canada on US-filed charges.
China has protested the arrest in Canada of the Chinese chief financial officer of telecom giant Huawei on charge of violating the US sanctions on Iran.
In late December, Huawei’s rotating chairman Guo Ping complained that his company was being subjected to “incredibly unfair treatment,” writing in a New Year’s message to staff that “Huawei has never and will never present a security threat.”
Huawei also rejected the Western countries’ concerns, saying there is “no evidence” that it poses a risk to the national security of any nation.