Huawei Technologies rotating Chairman Eric Xu called a number of U.S. lawmakers "closed-minded and ill-informed" in response to allegations that its Innovation Research Programme is a national security risk. Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Jim Banks collected 24 bipartisan signatures for their letter sent to education secretary Betsy DeVos last week wherein they claimed the Shenzhen-based company is stealing research breakthroughs from American universities under the guise of funding stateside academic initiatives.
"It seems that their bodies are in the information age but their minds are still in the agrarian age," remarked Mr. Xu while speaking at the latest edition of the annual Mobile World Congress Shanghai on Wednesday. The industry veteran asserted the two dozen legislators in question have a fundamental misunderstanding of how academic research is conducted and funded, describing last week's letter as yet another baseless attack against Huawei launched by U.S. actors. Following years of issues with stateside regulators, lawmakers, and companies, the Chinese firm once again found itself at odds with various American actors after unsuccessfully trying to realize a retail partnership with AT&T that would have provided it with a major entry point into the largest high-end smartphone market in the world.
More recently, Huawei found itself targeted by a defense bill amendment that would formally prevent any federal agency from purchasing its equipment, with a number of U.S. legislators now also pressuring Google to reconsider its relationship with the Chinese tech giant and the third-largest smartphone manufacturer on the planet by both shipments and sales. Last week's letter didn't call for Ms. DeVos to cut off Huawei's funding but urged her to investigate the company's interest in U.S. academics. The original equipment manufacturer is presently also facing allegations of posing a national security risk in Australia, with the company denying such claims for over a decade now, claiming it was never used as a spying tool for Beijing and is owned by its employees. Huawei's critics often pointed out that even if the company's infrastructure was never abused by China to spy on Western nations for any purpose, nothing is stopping the country's communist government from doing so in the future.