No u-turn please. Open letter from UK boss of Huawei defends 5G role, amid growing disquiet over Chinese government actions during Coronavirus pandemic
The UK boss of Hauwei Technologies has warned the government that it would be doing a ‘disservice’ to the country if it were excluded from its 5G role.
The open letter from Huawei comes amid growing anger on Conservative backbenches when government in January identified Huawei as a “high-risk vendor” but said it could play a “limited” role in the UK’s 5G networks.
Senior Tories led by Iain Duncan-Smith have threatened a Commons showdown this summer with the Prime Minister to try to limit Huawei’s access to the end of 2022. The Commons defence committee also plans to assess the security risks posed by Huawei equipment.
Huawei open letter
Into this an open letter from Victor Zhang, vice president, Huawei, has been published.
“In these unprecedented times, it is only by working together and strictly following the Government’s advice, will we beat a pandemic that threatens human and economic catastrophe,” wrote Zhang.
Zhang noted that since Covid-19 first hit the UK, data usage has soared by 50 percent or more.
“That’s why reliable mobile and broadband networks are crucial,” said Zhang. “We have built trust in our UK business over 20 years by helping our customers – the mobile network operators – provide consumers with affordable, reliable calls and data.”
“Despite this, there has been groundless criticism from some about Huawei’s involvement in the UK’s 5G rollout,” said Zhang. “And there are those who choose to continue to attack us without presenting any evidence. Disrupting our involvement in the 5G rollout would do Britain a disservice.”
“When we emerge from this crisis, we look forward to continuing to play our role as a key partner in improving the networks, benefiting the economy and ultimately everyone in the UK, ending the postcode lottery of good connectivity,” he said.
“Right now, by keeping Britain online, we are able to play our part in helping the country through this difficult period,” he concluded, before wishing everyone that they and their families keep safe and well.
But matters have not been helped amid growing anger in Western circles at China’s alleged misinformation campaign during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Last month Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry tweeted the possibility that the ‘US military brought the virus to Wuhan’, and an official government mouthpiece has alleged that Italy was responsible for the pandemic.
There is also disbelief about the scale of the Coronavirus pandemic in China after it first broke out in the city of Wuhan in December. Various media reports have suggested that Chinese authorities have dramatically under reported the number of Covid-19-related deaths.
China has only publicly declared 3,341 deaths in a population of 1.4 billion people.
China is also being fiercely criticised for its animal markets that often sell endangered wildlife and domestic animals (including dogs), often in horrific conditions. The arrival of Coronavirus has been linked by authorities to a seafood market in Wuhan.
And then on Monday CNN reported that the Chinese government has imposed restrictions on the publication of academic research on the origins of the novel coronavirus. This is according to a central government directive and online notices published by two Chinese universities, that have since been removed from the web.
Under the new policy, all academic papers on Covid-19 will be subject to extra vetting by Chinese authorities before being submitted for publication, CNN reported.
Studies on the origin of the virus will receive extra scrutiny and must be approved by central government officials, according to the now-deleted posts.
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