Beijing officials yesterday announced that China won’t be backing down from fighting what it sees as U.S. “abuse” of Huawei. The Chinese commerce ministry issued a statement accusing the U.S. of unfairly targeting the country’s telecom giant.
It also used the occasion to reiterate threats of direct economical retaliation against Washington. The move comes mere days after the Trump administration extended Huawei’s ban on procuring stateside tech.
China remains adamant that allegations of Huawei posing a national security risk to the U.S. are entirely baseless. CCP officials and Huawei reps said as much on dozens of occasions over the last several years.
The root of Washington’s concerns, however, is that CCP officals and Huawei reps tend to be one and the same. When a trillion-dollar business has an ownership structure as opaque as Huawei’s, it’s hard to imagine a different turn of events.
The U.S. “abuse” of Huawei a gross mischaracterization
In the past, Huawei often argued China has no more control over its operations than Washington does over the Silicon Valley. That’s not a bad point in some respects, but it’s also a strawman of an argument. After all, it’s not like U.S. legislators are sitting on the boards of Alphabet, Apple, and the like.
And sure, the scandal-ridden Trump administration certainly makes the U.S. criticism of Huawei appear much more hypocritical. But banning Huawei from using American technologies has nothing to do with appearances and everything to do with risk management.
The supposed U.S. “abuse” of Huawei is, therefore, more of a continuation of Trump’s aggressively protectionist policies.
Huawei lost access to solutions like Qualcomm’s chips and Google’s Android apps because its Western operations are a realistic threat to the U.S. The very concept of 5G espionage or the prospect of another Nortel are more than sufficiently large reasons for Washington to completely cordon off Huawei’s stateside supply lines.
No amount of claims about “unfair” treatment will change that. It’s also worth remembering that the domestic environment wherein Huawei thrived in the 90s was hardly “fair” toward foreign rivals either.
Huawei hence can’t even truly play the sympathy card here; as meaningless as it is for someone caught in a clash between two of the world’s largest economies.
Ultimately, you can expect a whole lot more of foul-play and “abuse” accusations from Huawei moving forward. Ditto for the Chinese government – especially now that the first coronavirus wave in the country is over.
Beijing can consequently redirect much of its attention back to Washington’s anti-Huawei agenda, further playing into the already drawn-out trade conflict with the U.S.