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Washington's Huawei anxiety has become hysteria: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-02-14 20:25

Company logo at the office of Huawei in Beijing, Dec 6, 2018. [Photo/Agencies]

Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies has been in hot water lately.

And the water keeps getting hotter as Washington continues to fan the flames of hysteria over it being a security threat. Hard on the heels of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who on Monday warned allies that embracing Huawei technologies may jeopardize their partnerships with Washington, US Vice-President Mike Pence praised Poland on Wednesday, for "protecting the telecoms sector from China".

No telecoms operators in any country using Huawei equipment have reported security breaches. Even the White House, which has been fanatically trying to brand Huawei as a "China threat", has produced no evidence of the company's alleged involvement in spying.

While there is no hard truth to underpin it, the ongoing witch-hunt, which Washington is enthusiastically directing and tirelessly broadening, certainly means nothing. It betrays growing anxiety over, helplessness about, and inability to adapt to the new reality that the present-day world is increasingly turning from unipolar to multipolar.

Despite Beijing's persistent pledge that it wants to forge a constructive relationship with Washington, the latter has remained at best lukewarm, preferring instead to cling to its idée fixe that security will be out of the question if it is not the world's sole superpower.

So an anxious White House chooses to confront China "on every front". And it is matching that rhetoric with forceful actions.

Despite all the suspicion and suppression, the besieged Huawei has continually highlighted its willingness to accept security scrutiny. Which it believes is the only way to prove its innocence. But innocence hardly matters to the Washington fearmongers. They have become hysteria.

In the latest symptom of their distress, China Railway Rolling Stock Corp, contending for a contract from the Washington, D.C. Metro, is labeled a potential source of "cyber security risks". Four Democratic senators have reportedly expressed concern that video surveillance cameras and the automated aspects of railway cars may be the tools of spies or hackers.

Following that logic, literally everything electronic produced by China can be turned into surveillance devices and be exploited by the Chinese government — lighting, signs, TVs, microwaves, fridges, even toys.

At the end of the day, they imply, can you lie on a made-in-China mattress without worrying you are being eavesdropped by some ears across the Pacific?

James Groft, chief executive of James Valley Telecommunications, who told The Wall Street Journal he hasn't seen Huawei do anything wrong, said he needs "something credible, and not fearmongering". Because he knows the hysteria will only end up hurting his US clients.

But that is unlikely to be forthcoming. In an article for the Financial Times, Robert Hannigan, the former head of UK's GCHQ intelligence arm, said its National Cyber Security Centre, has been evaluating Huawei's presence in UK telecom networks for some years, and it has never found any evidence of malicious Chinese state cyber activity through the company.

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