Huawei President Pushes Back

Electronics giant Huawei President Ren Zhengfei said his company does not spy or provide technological back doors to its products.

That came in an exclusive interview on CBS This Morning.

Huawei has been identified by the heads of U.S. intelligence agencies as a national security threat given the ubiquity of its technology, including in broadband networks and smart phones, and what they say is its ties to the Chinese government.

One byproduct of that concern is that, per the Defense Authorization bill passed last summer, Government contractors can't buy equipment from Huawei, and must submit a plan for phasing out the equipment already in use.

The Trump Administration and Congress have also talked of banning its products (and those of ZTE), and the FCC has proposed not allowing recipients of its Universal Service Fund broadband grant money to use Huawei technology.

But Ren said his company is not a spy.

"[W]e never participate in espionage and we do not allow any of our employees to do any act like that," he told co-host Bianna Golodryga. "And we absolutely never install backdoors. Even if we were required by Chinese law, we would firmly reject that."

China passed a law in 2017 requiring companies to assist national intelligence gathering, CBS pointed out.

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Just last month, the Department of Justice indicted the company on charges of theft of trade secrets, obstruction and wire fraud.

The charge is that the company tried to steal secrets from T-Mobile USA (based in Washington state) then obstructed justice after T-Mobile threatened to sue. Company CFO Meng Wanzhou was also arrested.

Related: Bill Introduced to Ban U.S. Tech Imports to Huawei

"I think detaining, arresting Miss Meng Wanzhou [who is his daughter] is politically motivated," Ren said.

As to the charges, he said: "We never reward any employee for improper actions. We actually punish them. And for these cases that you mentioned, they are already in legal proceedings, so let's wait for the court to make its final decision."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.