It’s looking more and more like Huawei isn’t the friendly tech company it makes itself out to be.
Evidence is mounting that Chinese technology company Huawei is a threat to U.S. national security, as a new paper released by the London-based Henry Jackson Society finds links between Huawei staff and China’s military and intelligence arms.
Christopher Balding, an associate professor at Fulbright University Vietnam, examined a sample size of 65,000 Chinese CVs that were leaked online (from a database of roughly 600 million resumes) and found 25,000 belonging to current or former Huawei employees. Of that, he and a research team narrowed things down even further, finding that about 100 had experience in national security.
Balding includes a few specific CVs in the paper as case studies to highlight the extent of the connections, noting that they represent “only a small sample of what has been found.”
For example, one CV describes a person who worked at Huawei but also was a representative for the Ministry of State Security, which is “the primary entity responsible for espionage and counter intelligence.” Another resume describes a person who held a software engineer post at Huawei that includes access to user and provider data who also works in a teaching and research role for a military university overseen by the People’s Liberation Army.
“(It) is clear that there is an undeniable relationship between Huawei and the Chinese state, military, and intelligence gathering services,” Balding writes. “While data limitations prevent us from saying whether Huawei follows official commands, acts in concert with the state, or seeks to preempt greater control by acting in advance, there is significant direct evidence of Huawei personnel acting at the direction of Chinese state intelligence with multiple overlapping relationship links through the Chinese state.”
So why does this matter to a nonprofit organization focused on creating U.S. manufacturing jobs?
Well… remember last week, when President Trump said he will roll back restrictions on Chinese telecommunications company Huawei? He did so as part of the ongoing U.S.-China trade negotiations, something we have been following closely.
Trump’s decision was widely blasted by critics on Capitol Hill and on the campaign trail, with folks like Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) arguing that Huawei is a national security threat and should be dealt with as a national security threat — not a pawn in trade negotiations.
As Warner recently told The Verge, allowing Huawei to play a role in our 5G infrastructure could put “critical supply chains at risk” and “undermine U.S. competitiveness at a time when China is already attempting to surpass the U.S. technologically and economically through the use of state-directed and state-supported technology transfers.”
Plus, we know that China has long stolen intellectual property and trade secrets from American businesses, big and small — handing the keys of America’s 5G network to a company with ties to China’s government doesn’t seem like a strategy that will benefit U.S. companies and workers.
For its part, Huawei argues it is an innocent bystander, an independent company that merely has gotten caught up in a bitter trade dispute between the world’s two largest economies. The company has even gone to court over restrictions imposed on it by Congress, arguing that there isn’t proof it is a security threat and that it is being punished without due process.
The U.S. government has countered that the very potential for any threat of Chinese spying justifies a ban.
Balding’s paper, meanwhile, is the latest piece of growing evidence that Huawei is lying.