Huawei Founder Breaks Silence and Denies Company Spies
The Chinese billionaire praises Trump: “A great president” and says that his daughter stuck in Canada “misses him.”
The founder of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei, came out of the shadows to give an interview in which he denied the accusations that the Chinese telephone company is engaged in espionage activities on behalf of the Chinese government.
Without giving interviews to foreign media since 2015, the founder broke the silence to defend his company. In a conversation with Bloomberg, he said his company does not conduct espionage for the Chinese government and does not even have close contact with Beijing.
Under pressure in recent months
The company he founded 20 years ago is under pressure in recent months following the arrest in Canada of the daughter of the company’s founder and manager, Meng Wanzhou, the arrest of an employee for espionage in Poland and a global campaign in Washington to include her in a blacklist.
Ren, an engineer who worked for the Chinese Armed Forces, denied that Huawei collected information for the government.
“I love my country, I support the Communist Party. But I will not do anything to harm the world,” the 74-year-old said. “I don’t see a close connection between my personal political beliefs and the businesses of Huawei.”
Ren said a month after her daughter was arrested in Vancouver (Canada) following an extradition order issued by the USA under the accusation that Huawei had violated the rules on sanctions against Iran by selling to the Persian country US-made equipment.
“With regard to cybersecurity and privacy protection, we are committed to being with our customers. We will never harm any nation or individual,” said the businessman, according to the media attending the meeting, adding that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China has officially clarified that no law requires companies in the country to provide access to information through “back doors.”
“Neither Huawei nor I personally have ever received any order from any government to provide improper information,” said Ren, who argued that customers are the first thing for a company. “We are a business organization, and we follow this rule,” he said.
In the interview, only the third in his entire life for a non-Chinese vehicle, Zhengfei downplayed his company’s role in the commercial conflict that erupted between China and the United States, called Donald Trump “a great president” and called for treatment in the United States.
“Huawei is just a sesame seed in the trade dispute between China and the US,” he said. “Trump is a great president. He speaks of massive tax cuts, which will benefit the business. But companies and countries need to be well treated so that they are willing to invest in the US and the government can collect enough taxes.”
Global boycott campaign
The company faces unprecedented challenges for Washington’s global campaign for countries to reconsider the use of the Chinese giant’s equipment in their cell phone networks for security reasons.
Last month, British mobile telephony provider BT said it would remove Huawei’s equipment from its cell phone offer after the intelligence services considered the company a security risk.
Australia and New Zealand also adopted similar measures. Canada is the only country in the “Five Eyes” intelligence network (Five Eyes, an alliance of the intelligence services of Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Canada, and the United States) that did not take action against Huawei.
Similar concerns arise in Japan, France, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, and other countries.
In the interview, Ren denied regular contacts with the Chinese government, the British newspaper Financial Times reported, and that Huawei would reject any request from Beijing to share sensitive information from its customers.
Huawei has always rejected Western accusations, insisting that there is no “evidence” that it poses a challenge to the national security of any country.
Some analysts estimate that Beijing’s firm response to his arrest confirms Washington’s suspicions.
Shortly after Meng’s arrest, Chinese authorities detained two Canadian citizens – a former diplomat and a consultant – on suspicion of threatening national security, which was interpreted as a retaliatory measure.
Beijing also reviewed the unknown case of Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg, who had been sentenced to 15 years in prison in November for a drug-related crime.
On Monday his sentence was reviewed, and he was sentenced to death in a hasty trial. China denies that any of these cases are related to Meng’s situation.