- Huawei’s US security chief Andy Purdy said in an interview that CEO Ren Zhengfei would shut down the company if asked to spy by “any government.”
- Huawei has been accused by the US of providing a backdoor for the Chinese government to spy – an allegation the company denies.
- Purdy said Huawei wants to talk the US officials to ease their concerns about spying and put in place “proven mechanisms for addressing risk.”
Huawei would sooner close than be a tool for the Chinese government to spy on the West.
Huawei’s US security boss said on Wednesday that CEO Ren Zhengfei – a former officer of the People’s Liberation Army – would shut the tech giant down if asked to spy by Xi Jinping’s regime, or indeed any other government.
“Mr Ren our founder is committed that he would shut down the company if necessary,” Andy Purdy told BBC Radio 4’s “Today Programme.” “We have not been asked by any government to do anything improper, and if we were asked we would say no regardless of who the government is.”
He was pressed on the Chinese National Intelligence Law, legislation introduced in 2017 compelling companies to help intelligence services on matters of national security.
“It’s really amazing the repeated mischaracterization of the law. It does not apply to equipment manufacturers like Huawei. It does not have extra-territorial effect, in other words outside of China,” Purdy told the BBC.
He characterised the US’s mistrust of the company as the result of geopolitical tensions between the US and China.
“The fact is there’s a geopolitical issue that’s gonna be with us for decades between the United States and China. The rise of China as an economic and military power is of great concern to the United States, the rise of the fifth domain of the military which is cyberspace,” he said.
Just Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese hackers targeted some two dozen American universities in an attempt to glean maritime military secrets.
Purdy added that Huawei wants to talk to the US government about technical solutions to address its security concerns. “We welcome the opportunity to talk with the US government about proven mechanisms for addressing risk, mechanisms that have satisfied the US government in the past. So we hope that’s the route for us to have some real negotiations to come to a resolution,” he explained.
The US has not only frozen Huawei out of its domestic market, but has been aggressively lobbying allied nations to reject Huawei’s 5G network plans.
When questioned about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has warned allied countries against using Huawei equipment or else the US will not be able to partner with them, Purdy said he was a “great American,” but, “there really is not the kind of threat the Secretary of State is talking about.”
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