The saga of Chinese tech giant Huawei vs the USA continues on two fronts this week, as the manufacturer confirms previous reports by filing a lawsuit against the US government for unfair persecution. Over in Canada, Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou's extradition is delayed again, with her attorney claiming 'abuse'.
Huawei filed a lawsuit in a Texas federal court, claiming the US government overstepped its bounds and acted unconstitutionally when it banned the use of Huawei’s equipment by federal agencies in the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, as Huawei was effectively condemned without a fair trail.
Song Liuping, Huawei's chief legal officer, said: "Section 889 (of the NDAA) is based on numerous false, unproven and untested statements. Contrary to the assumption of the law Huawei is not owned, controlled by, or under the influence of the Chinese government. In addition, Huawei has an excellent safety record and an excellent safety concept. There were not submitted any evidence to the contrary. "
The lawsuit was announced in a press conference held in China, which was live-streamed on Huawei's YouTube channel. In the video, which you can watch below, Huawei rotating chairman Guo Ping goes on the offensive with several claims (starting at 4:13 in the video) that the US government had hacked into Huawei servers and stole private emails and source code. It's important to note that no evidence was offered to back up these claims. Likewise, although Huawei is accused by the US government of posing an espionage risk and sharing sensitive data with the Chinese government, there is no publicly available evidence of this either.
CFO's legal team calls out 'abuse'
Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou's detainment in Canada at the behest of the US continues to be dragged out. The 46-year-old businesswoman is not charged with espionage, but rather fraud and violation of US sanctions against Iran. Her legal team has claimed that her Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms have already been violated, and describes her as a victim of political persecution. And politics certainly won't stay out of this. In an apparent response, the Chinese government has already detained Canadian citizens on criminal charges. Ms. Meng's next hearing has been set for May 8.
The future of 5G at stake
With allegations and counter-allegations fired, it would be good to see either side actually present hard evidence for public scrutiny, especially as nations are taking big decisions on the allocation of contracts to build 5G infrastructure, which the US would not like to see fall under Chinese influence. On the other hand, even if Huawei is squeaky clean and doesn't spy for the Chinese government, China will remember the US's treatment of its homegrown heroes during tense trade negotiations between the two world powers.
Huawei isn't only going on the offensive, but also stressed the benefits that could come from co-operation with the US governments should the ban be lifted. In a statement to the press, the company claimed that the suppression of competition would result in US consumers have to paying higher prices for inferior products, and would delay the effective implementation of 5G and cost the US at least 20 billion dollars in mobile infrastructure expenses.
Guo Ping added: "If this law is repealed, Huawei can offer more advanced technologies in the United States and contribute to building the best 5G networks. Huawei is willing to address the security concerns of the US government. The lifting of the NDAA-ban will give the US government the leeway to work with Huawei and to meet the real security challenges."
What do you think? Does Huawei pose a security risk or is the US persecuting it unfairly to maintain geopolitical influence?