The House of Commons committee has based its findings on the accounts of a number of cyber experts and academics, with Huawei thus referring to the claims as opinions, rather than being grounded in fact.
There is “clear evidence of collusion” between Huawei and the “Chinese Communist Party apparatus”, a British parliamentary inquiry has it, as cited by the BBC, with MPs suggesting that the government may have to bring forward a deadline for the Chinese firm’s 5G kit to be removed from the UK’s mobile infrastructure.
The House of Commons Defence Committee based its findings on the testimony of academics, cyber-security experts, and telecom insiders, among others, including executives from Huawei itself, as well as a few long-term critics of the Chinese tech titan.
The document reportedly cites a venture capitalist who claimed the Chinese government “had financed the growth of Huawei with some $75 billion [£57 billion] over the past three years”, which he said had allowed effective price dumping, that is to sell its hardware at a “ridiculously low price point”.
The report goes on to bring up a claim made by a researcher who specialises in corporate irregularities within China, who alleged that Huawei had “engaged in a variety of intelligence, security, and intellectual property activities” regardless of its continuous denials.
“It is clear that Huawei is strongly linked to the Chinese state and the Chinese Communist Party, despite its statements to the contrary”, the committee summed up, claiming it is “evidenced by its ownership model and the subsidies it has received”.
It separately alleges that Beijing had exerted pressure through “covert and overt threats” to keep Huawei in the UK’s 5G network, adding that should the threats continue, the government may need to “carefully consider China’s future presence in critical sectors of the economy”, e.g. the UK’s nuclear sector.
The committee’s report also recommends the upcoming National Security and Investment Bill, which is supposed to give ministers the power to ban investments they deem risky.
Huawei Has Its Say
Huawei has responded to the claims outlined in the report saying it “lacks credibility as it is built on opinion rather than fact” citing the dominance of experts, rather than insiders in the team that compiled it.
Although the company’s options in the UK are now limited, it is doing its best to sell its 5G telecom infrastructure to other European countries and beyond, having invested heavily in the technology.
“We’re sure people will see through these accusations of collusion and remember instead what Huawei has delivered for Britain over the past 20 years”, a spokesman for the company said.
Report Zeroes in on Urgency to Find New Suppliers
Greater work needs to be done to collaborate with allies to ensure there are other suppliers of telecom equipment, the report states, calling on the government to avoid any further delay in introducing a telecoms bill to end what it has depicted as “commercial concerns trumping national security”.
‘Content’ With Intel Sharing
MPs have called to assess equipment from “other vendors in a similar fashion”, admitting though that when it comes to defence and national security websites, the committee says it is “content” that Huawei is sufficiently distanced from them. The MPs have thereby rejected claims that Huawei’s presence in the UK affects the country’s ability to share sensitive information with allies.
The committee, however, urges GCHQ to continue its work with the firm at the Huawei Cyber Security Evaluation Centre (HCSEC), where Huawei’s equipment is monitored for flaws and inconsistencies.
UK’s July Decision
Huawei’s future in the country was cast into doubt in July after London announced a ban on Huawei 5G networks despite having previously allowed its limited involvement, citing security concerns.
The decision came amid continuous pressure by the Trump administration, who has been urging allies to cut business ties with the Chinese tech firm, claiming that it is engaged in technology theft and espionage at the Chinese government’s behest.
Both Huawei and Beijing have rejected the accusations and slammed the US for unfair business practices, with the top-selling company’s management welcoming fair and transparent checks into their infrastructure.