Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is not mincing words when he tries to convince the world that Beijing will not use Chinese companies to spy on other countries. China’s high-tech poster child Huawei continues to face pressure from the United States and some of its allies for this reason.
“I don’t know if you are referring to the governments or individuals of other countries, but let me tell you explicitly that this is not consistent with Chinese law. This is not how China behaves,” Li told reporters on Friday morning in Beijing after being asked whether China would ask Chinese companies to spy on other countries. “We did not do that and will not do that in future.”
Li’s remark came amid pushes from the United States intelligence community and its allies to exclude Huawei, China’s telecoms giant and a leader in 5G technology, from the global 5G market, citing security concerns.
These concerns are not entirely unfounded, because exploiting technological systems by embedding spyware or building backdoors to steal information is a growing practice for many countries, including the US.
Richard A. Grenell, US Ambassador in Berlin, has reportedly written a letter to the German government warning the latter that inclusion of Huawei and other Chinese equipment vendors in Germany’s 5G projects could mean losing access to US intelligence, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The United States and Australia have banned Huawei from their telecom markets, and other countries including Canada, Japan and New Zealand might follow suit.