Huawei sues critics over China claims

Huawei Technologies is suing critics in France who alleged it has ties to the Chinese state.

In an unprecedented move, the technology giant filed three defamation claims in Paris over comments made during television programmes by a French researcher, a broadcast journalist and a telecommunications sector expert.

The legal actions in France were published on Tuesday in a report by La Lettre A, an online investigative newsletter. Huawei confirmed the claims, which it said were filed with French law enforcement authorities in March.

The filings come as the telecoms gear maker seeks to bid for a piece of the future 5G network in Europe’s second-largest economy and in countries like Germany.

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Since the December 2018 arrest of its chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in Canada, the Shenzhen-based company has sought to fight reports of alleged links to the Chinese state.

The group said its claims “concern only statements that Huawei is a company controlled by the Chinese state and the Chinese Communist Party, led by a former member of the ‘counter-intelligence’, and using its technological expertise in telecom networks to commit acts of espionage against the western world”. The company added that “these statements are false”.

Some of the critics’ remarks were reiterated last week by US permanent representative to Nato Kay Bailey Hutchison, who said at a Paris conference Huawei would “have” to hand over data “if asked by the government” in China.

Huawei is resorting to legal measures as national security agencies in Europe and America have signalled concerns over the potential risks of using its equipment, and have presented views on how they could be mitigated.

The company has sued the US government for barring its equipment from certain networks, a legal riposte to American accusations it aids China in espionage.


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