A secret report from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), released recently among other court documents, indicated that there was advanced communication between the CSIS and the US FBI ahead of the December 2018 arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver International Airport.
In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Monday that the documents released by the Canadian court once again showed that Meng’s case is a serious political incident, an indication of the US’ political plot to deliberately crack down on Chinese high-tech companies and Huawei, with Canada acting as the accomplice.
Seemingly, Canada played a role in Meng’s incident, which is sufficient for us to conclude that the country’s rejection of Huawei in its 5G network was not necessarily based on national security concerns or economic reasons, as Western media and its politicians used to claim. Instead it was all about heavy-handed political interference and pressure from its ally.
In fact, it is not just the Canadian government that should be ashamed of failing to be fair to a Chinese company – so should the UK.
The British government previously intended to allow Huawei to participate in the construction of its 5G network under the approval of its intelligence agencies. However, the Johnson government recently changed course and wanted to remove the Chinese telecoms equipment giant from its network by 2023, in an apparent attempt to align itself with the US stance on Huawei. When offering reasons for its change of heart, the UK government unsurprisingly cited cliché cybersecurity threats and national security risks, which now seem nothing but a fig leaf for succumbing to US pressure.
But the subsequent economic repercussions should by no means be overlooked. For instance, BT and Vodafone, two of the UK’s biggest telecommunications companies, are lobbying against moves to ditch Huawei in the country, The Times reported on Sunday. Relying heavily on Huawei equipment in their 4G infrastructure, the two companies would need to replace Huawei parts in about 19,000 mobile phone masts across the country, which would cause significant economic losses and disrupt their operations.
Moreover, the China-Britain Business Council also suggested in a recent document that Britain should not give up a market of 1.4 billion people in the post-Brexit period.
If the UK government chooses to be on a par with the US’ position on everything relevant to China or Chinese companies in a new Cold War, then it would cost itself a huge loss of interest, which could be unbearable for the current UK economy already under pressure from Brexit and the coronavirus.
What’s more, it would also be a great shame for a once proud Western power to sacrifice its domestic interests only to cozy up to the US.