China brushes off Huawei 5G concerns as witch-hunt, issues veiled threat against Nokia and Ericsson

Huawei China store
Huawei China store (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • China's ambassador to the U.K. accused the Conservative party of engaging in a witch-hunt over Huawei's 5G security fears.
  • In France, the government said that further reprisal against Huawei could see similar sanctions enacted against European firms like Nokia and Ericsson in China
  • The Chinese government also requested for more transparent criteria in France.

As the UK continues to make decisions over its 5G network, China takes umbrage with Huawei's role as a villain on this stage. While the U.K. government decided not to ban Huawei from its 5G network, senior conservatives have argued that Huawei and other high-risk vendors be phased out slowly from key parts of telecoms infrastructure — or be ruled out entirely.

"I think what they are doing is a kind of a witch-hunt," China's ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming told the BBC, "Huawei is a private-owned company, nothing to do with the Chinese government... the only problem they have is they are a Chinese company."

While the U.S. has banned Huawei from its shores entirely and even sought up ways to take the fight to Huawei on a global scale, China has taken a dim view of the whole affair.

The government also took a strong stance in France, as the firm was preparing to roll out its own 5G network. It warned them against taking restrictive steps against Huawei, noting that European companies like Nokia and Ericcson also do business in China. It would be a shame, the government implied, if anything happened to them as a result of discrimination against Huawei.

Calling for transparency via a statement on the embassy website, the Chinese government said:

If, for security reasons, the French government really needs to impose constraints on operators, it should establish transparent criteria in this regard and treat all businesses in the same way. A difference in the treatment of companies according to their country of origin will constitute overt discrimination and disguised protectionism. This goes against the principles of a market economy and free trade. China has always given Nokia and Ericsson fair treatment in the deployment of 5G networks in China and has even allowed them to take part in the deployment of the core networks. We do not want to see the development of European companies in the Chinese market affected because of the discrimination and protectionism of France and other European countries towards Huawei.

For its part, Huawei has always acted extremely positive about the EU's approach to 5G security, hailing it as a "fact-based approach."

Huawei says it can withstand further U.S. escalation

Michael Allison