The Federal Communications Committee (FCC) could “revoke and terminate” the ability for China Telecom, a “U.S. subsidiary of a People’s Republic of China (PRC) state-owned telecommunications company” to perform “international telecommunications services to and from the United States.”
“The FCC has been looking at this issue,” FCC spokesperson Tina Pelkey told the Daily Caller on Thursday. “We welcome the input of the Executive Branch agencies and will review it carefully.”
Earlier on Thursday, the Justice Department and other Executive Branch agencies recommended the FCC take such action. Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said in a statement accompanying the announcement that “today, more than ever, the life of the nation and its people runs on our telecommunications networks.” (RELATED: ‘You’re A Disgrace’: Sen. Josh Hawley Calls For Purging WHO Of Communist ‘Collaborators’)
“The security of our government and professional communications, as well as of our most private data, depends on our use of trusted partners from nations that share our values and our aspirations for humanity,” he wrote. “Today’s action is but our next step in ensuring the integrity of America’s telecommunications systems.”
A representative for China Telecom “unequivocally” denied the allegations put forth by the Trump administration in a statement to Daily Caller.
“The company has always been extremely cooperative and transparent with regulators,” spokesman Ge Yu wrote. “In many instances, we have gone beyond what has been requested to demonstrate how our business operates and serves our customers following the highest international standards. We look forward to sharing additional details to support our position and addressing any concerns.”
The Executive Branch’s review, led by DOJ, found that China Telecom “is vulnerable to exploitation, influence, and control by the PRC government” and that its broadcasts “provide opportunities for PRC state-actors to engage in malicious cyber activity enabling economic espionage and disruption and misrouting of U.S. communications.” (RELATED: US Ramps Up Crackdown On China’s Spying Efforts During Coronavirus)
China Telecom also allegedly provided investigators inaccurate statements on its own cybersecurity practices and where exactly it keeps its U.S.-based records. The company has also reportedly failed to comply with a 2007 Letter of Assurance, which was the primary basis for FCC recognition in the first place.
The move comes as the US and China have ramped up their sparring over journalists’ rights within their respective countries.
Earlier this spring, the United States designated five Chinese-based news outlets operating in the U.S. as propaganda tools of the Chinese Communist Party. Then, in March, China expelled all reporters for the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal from working within its borders.