Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying has accused the U.S. Government of going to great lengths to repress Chinese companies including Huawei.
“Have you not seen how they crossed every line, violated human rights to intimidate and arrest Chinese business executives, and coerced and co-opted its minion to illegally detain Ms. Meng Wanzhou [Huawei chief financial officer]?” Hua said. “I wonder has any American business had the same treatment or experience in China? China will not go low as the United States does. Instead, we will firmly advance all-round opening-up, foster an open economy at a higher level and create a level playing field for all businesses, Chinese and foreign alike.
“That being said, we will never allow the United States to rampantly trample on Chinese companies’ legitimate rights. We have every right to say no to bullying and injustice,” Hua added.
[The “minion” to which Hua refers is the government of Canada. Meng has permanent residency in Canada. Canadian officials arrested Meng in December 2018 upon the request of the U.S. Justice Department, which accused her of breaking Iranian sanctions. Since then, she has been resisting extradition to the United States.]
During a press conference on July 17, a reporter from Kyodo News cited a report that, starting on Aug. 13, the U.S. administration will put in force the National Defense Authorization Act to prohibit the U.S. government from purchasing products or services from any company that uses products of Huawei, ZTE and three other Chinese companies.
“On the issue of Huawei, the United States has not a single piece of evidence that Huawei poses a threat to its national security,” Hua said. “Huawei is a Chinese company, more advanced than its U.S. peers in 5G sector, and that’s where the United States believes it has got wrong. The United States cannot tolerate anything better than it, so it has abused its state power to oppress Huawei on trumped-up charges. This is economic bullying, a blatant rejection of the market economy principles that the United States has always prided itself on. The world sees this very clearly.”
The foreign ministry spokesperson said China urges the United States to stop abusing the concept of national security, stop slandering China, oppressing certain Chinese companies, and provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese companies to conduct business in the United States.
“We all hope that China will provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory environment for U.S. companies,” Hua said. “But U.S. companies should also put themselves in the shoes of Huawei and think about this question: Is there any company from any other country rather than China, that has been treated so unjustly, unfairly and brutally in the United States, like Huawei and other Chinese companies? I think countries and people with a sense of justice should stand forward and make an appeal.”
A reporter from Agence France-Press ask Hua to comment on U.S. Attorney General Barr’s claims that China would take advantage of globalization to spread its political ideology. In her response, Hua alluded to the speeches not only by Barr, but also by U.S. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
“Many U.S. senior officials have been attacking China with groundless criticism,” Hua said. “They are merely following a threadbare script to distort facts and deflect attention. The world has seen through their tricks.”
A Bloomberg reporter asked Hua to respond to Barr’s claim that hackers linked to China have targeted U.S. universities and companies in a bid to steal intellectual property tied to coronavirus treatments. The reporter further asked how China responds to Barr’s additional comments that the Chinese Communist Party has used public threats of retaliation and has barred market access to exert influence over U.S. companies.
“We keep stressing that China is a staunch defender of cybersecurity,” Hua said. “China has long been a major victim of cyber theft and attacks. We firmly oppose and fight all forms of cyber attacks and thefts.”
Hua said that given the virtual nature of cyberspace and that the many online actors are difficult to trace, it is important to have enough evidence when investigating and identifying cyber-related incidents. She said that groundless speculations should not be allowed. According to Hua, certain U.S. politicians are so irresponsible that they will say whatever needs to be said to make China a target.
“Those who have long been following cybersecurity issues have not forgotten the PRISM program,” Hua said. “They must have also heard of the Equation Group. Yahoo recently reported on CIA’s secret authorization to conduct cyber attacks. The United States and a few followers randomly wage cyber warfare against other countries. They are the biggest threat to peace and security in the global cyber space.”
[Under the National Security Agency’s PRISM program, the NSA, FBI and CIA gather and search through Americans’ international emails, internet calls and chats without obtaining a warrant, according to Patrick Toomey, a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project. Research into the Equation Group, so named by the Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab computer antivirus software provider, led Kaspersky to conclude it is “probably the most sophisticated computer attack group in the world,” according to author Dan Goodin, writing for ARS Technica in 2015.]
The ministry spokesperson said that cybersecurity is a global issue that bears on the shared interests of all countries and should be jointly guarded by the international community. She said the confrontational mindset, reminiscent of the Cold War, will only poison the atmosphere for cooperation and will not be conducive to the peace and security of cyber space.