Opinion: Huawei incident in Europe ‘artificial' amid populism and envy
CGTN's The Point
The latest arrest of a Huawei employee in Poland can be considered an “artificial coincidence” with the one in Canada, experts say, an epitome of Warsaw's loyalty to Washington as the U.S. has been asking its allies to counter Chinese telecom giant.
Wang Weijing, who has now been fired and Piotr D., former Polish security official working in the telecom industry, were arrested on January 8 for alleged espionage. It follows the Canadian arrest of Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou in December at the request of the U.S. who blacklists the company internationally over security concerns.
With practicing “America First” and “unfair treatment” for Huawei as the 5G network leader, the Trump administration tries to interfere with behaviors in trade, investment and technology in the name of security, said Cui Hongjian, director of European Department at China Institute of International Studies.
“If those countries just follow the logic of Mr. Trump, there will be two or three different groups on a divided line – not because of competitiveness in technology, just because of systems and ideologies,” Cui said, adding that “If so, we can even smell the cold war.”
Beijing on Monday underscored that security issues must be told with facts and solid evidence to determine who or which companies are truly security threats.
“Some people are now seeking to use groundless accusations about so-called ‘possible security threats' to suppress and restrict Chinese high-tech companies' development abroad,” responded Hua Chunying, spokesperson of Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Meanwhile, Huawei stated that Wang's “alleged actions have no relation to the company,” noting its overseas operations complies with all regulations in the countries.
Awkwardly, Stanislaw Zaryn, spokesperson for Poland's secret services chief, tweeted the arrests, including the account links of the U.S. Department of State, the FBI and CIA.
Mike Bastin from the University of Southampton believes what the Polish side did was play up to Americans to gain favor, adding that Huawei is up against a rising nationalism and populism across Europe, particularly in Eastern Europe.
“These governments are trying to appeal to their public, following and cementing their positioning power by taking on a foreign company,” Bastin argued. “But the single biggest reason is the competitive threat that Huawei now faces.”
Huawei, under scrutiny in the U.S., has produced 205 million units in 2018 and could reach 225 million in 2019, which would provide Huawei with a global market share of 16 percent ahead of Apple, according to TrendForce research.
It also has a product range of telecom network equipment that other competitors don't have, Bastin noted. “I think there is competitor envy out there as well.”
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