Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei denied accusations that it’s controlled by the Chinese government, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported Sunday.
“There is no ownership [of Huawei] by the [Chinese] government whatsoever — we would term our form of ownership a cooperative in western societies,” John Lord, chairman of Huawei Technologies in Australia, said in response to Australian Parliament Member Michael Danby’s accusations that it’s owned by the Communist Party in China.
“Both Huawei and ZTE must report to a Communist Party cell at the top of their organizations,” Danby, a member of the Labor Party in Australia, told the Australian Parliament.
“Huawei is owned by employees,” Lord said. “We have 170,000 employees in the world but it’s only owned by 80,000 because we haven’t got enough shares.”
The Australian federal government is currently debating whether it should allow Huawei to participate in the construction of the 5G mobile network in the “Land Down Under,” which ABC reported is set to be completed in 2019.
Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE were the subject of a ban in the U.S. after they were caught selling products to Iran, which was the subject of a sanction. Additionally, the U.S. military banned the sale of their products on bases because of security reasons, The Daily Caller News Foundation reported on May 3.
“Huawei and ZTE devices may pose an unacceptable risk to Department’s personnel, information and mission,” Army Maj. Dave Eastburn, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement. “In light of this information, it was not prudent for the Department’s exchanges to continue selling them to [Defense Department] personnel.”
Eastburn didn’t specify what the Pentagon’s security concerns are, but the Chinese government might be able to track the location of military personnel that use Huawei and ZTE devices, The Wall Street Journal reported on May 2.
Huawei is the third-largest smartphone maker in the world. (RELATED: ZTE Bribed And Spied On African Officials To Snuff Out US Contract)
Some members of the Australian parliament, like Danby, cite the U.S. ban as evidence that their country shouldn’t allow Huawei in, as it may prove to compromise national security. However, Huawei said it’s not owned by China and that not letting them in the deal would be a mistake.
“Australians are now enjoying some of the best 4G broadband in the world because of the competition and because players like Huawei,” Lord told ABC’s “RN Breakfast” on Monday. “There’s only about two other players in the Australian market.”
Huawei would be happy to let Australian officials test its products, Lord also said. “We’re happy to have our equipment tested, we’re happy to have it analyzed,” he said.
U.S. President Donald Trump is in the process of renegotiating a trade deal with China and the Huawei-ZTE controversy could be at the heart of the deal.
“I closed it down then let it reopen with high level security guarantees, change of management and board, must purchase U.S. parts and pay a $1.3 Billion fine,” Trump wrote in a tweet on May 25.
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