Commentary: Politicized ban on Huawei shows U.S. losing spirit of openness

Source: Xinhua| 2019-05-22 20:21:28|Editor: zh
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WASHINGTON, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Washington last week declared a national emergency over what it claimed are technological threats, and announced restrictions on sale and transfer of American technologies to China's Huawei.

The telecom company has long been accused by the United States of being able to use its network equipment to spy on foreign nations for the Chinese government. However, "no intelligence service has published clear evidence that Huawei inserted 'backdoors' for Chinese authorities to access the data that passes through its networks," according to a December 2018 article by U.S. media Politico.

Given the lack of proof that Huawei threatens U.S. security, last week's twin moves by Washington -- the use of state apparatus to oppress a company -- are a reflection of nothing but bullying.

The smearing campaign against Huawei aside, the United States has also been trying to rally Europe to abandon Huawei products, citing security threats. It was not welcome.

"Europe must not be dragged into the trade dispute between China and the United States," Germany's powerful BDI industrial lobby group was quoted by media reports as saying in a statement on Thursday.

France too refused to take orders from the United States. "Our perspective is not to block Huawei or any company," President Emmanuel Macron told the VivaTech conference in Paris on Thursday.

Launching a tech war or a trade war against any country is not appropriate, nor is it the best way to defend national security, Macron said.

The ban on the supply of U.S.-made chips to Huawei is a lose-lose in any sense, as it poses a threat to Huawei's viability and U.S. companies also pay the price.

Out of the total of 70 billion U.S. dollars Huawei spent on buying components in 2018, some 11 billion dollars went to U.S. companies, the Reuters reported Friday.

"The ban will financially harm the thousands of Americans employed by the U.S. companies that do business with Huawei," said Catherine Chen, a Director of the Board at Huawei, in a The New York Times article on Friday. "A total ban on Huawei equipment could eliminate tens of thousands of American jobs."

Although Huawei does not do much business in the United States, the company is the sole provider of networking equipment to many rural American internet providers, according to a CNN article on Tuesday.

"Those companies have said it will take time -- or may be impossible -- to replace their Huawei technology with a rival's," it added.

As a move to ease the repercussion of the ban, the U.S. Department of Commerce on Monday issued a 90-day temporary license loosening restrictions on business deals with Huawei.

Huawei doesn't intend to isolate itself from others, but wants to make as many friends as possible, its founder Ren Zhengfei told Chinese media on Tuesday when asked why Huawei didn't use substitutes before the United States took the latest aggressive measures.

"We don't want to do harm to friends," he said. "We want to help them achieve good balance sheets. Even if we make adjustments, we still ought to render help."

The spirit of openness is what helped the United States develop. However, Washington's restrictions on Huawei, based on unfounded allegations and political speculations, fall foul of the golden rules it once embraced.

For Washington to win in an era of cooperation and inter-dependence, it would be better to revive the spirit of openness.