Britain’s parliamentary Defense Select Committee has a new report, The Security of 5G, which exposes Huawei.
The Chinese telecommunications company has faced significant Trump administration restrictions in response to its covert support of Chinese government interests. After previously authorizing Huawei to help build out its 5G network, the British government reversed course earlier this year, requiring Huawei to suspend all U.K. 5G operations by 2027. The Defense Committee report says that the government should consider expediting its 2027 timetable. Huawei, the committee says, is clearly just an arm of the Chinese government.
This finding is not anything new per se. The evidence of China’s funding and direction of Huawei is mostly classified but overwhelming in evidentiary quality. Sometimes it is obvious and quite amusing. But the basic point is that Beijing intends to use Huawei’s access to global 5G networks to advance its market dominance in critical economic sectors, and to conduct espionage operations on a massive scale. Huawei’s technology is designed with deliberate flaws with which to provide deniable access by People’s Liberation Army and Ministry of State Security intelligence officers. Moreover, Huawei’s officers are sometimes given specific Chinese government missions to that effect.
The committee addresses these concerns by noting “that Huawei is strongly linked to the Chinese state and the Chinese Communist Party, despite its statements to the contrary.” That reference of “statements to the contrary” serves to emphasize Huawei’s lies in its testimony before the committee. A criminal offense. The report continues, observing that are preferable alternatives to using the company for 5G network services. It explains that “the presence of Huawei in the UK’s 5G networks posed a significant security risk to individuals and to our Government. There is no doubt that Huawei’s designation as a high-risk vendor is justified… Whilst Huawei is a market leading company, we do not believe it to be higher in quality or more functional than its rivals, Nokia and Ericsson.” But the Committee also observes that Huawei has benefited from up to $75 billion in Chinese government subsidies, which allows it to offer very cheap prices!
The Parliamentarians note that China, predictably, hasn’t taken Britain’s reassessment of Huawei very well. “Pressure has been exerted by China on the UK Government to retain the presence of Huawei in its 5G infrastructure through both covert and overt threats.” The report continues, “More recently, following the Government’s announcement for the long-term withdrawal of Huawei from its 5G network, China has threatened to withdraw from the UK’s economy, including in critical infrastructure such as nuclear.”
That blackmail effort speaks to the nature of Xi Jinping’s investments. They always come with unpleasant political strings attached. This is something that former Prime Minister David Cameron never understood as he sought to maximize Chinese investment in Britain. Put simply, a deal with the Chinese Communist dragon will always ultimately burn you. Fortunately, Britain appears to have woken up in the nick of time.