China accuses Australia of discriminating against Huawei

China accuses Australia of discriminating against Huawei

  • Chinese ambassador says consumers not being served well by ‘politically motivated’ ban on tech firm’s entry into 5G network

The Australian government’s ban on Huawei’s participation in building the nation’s 5G network remains a “sore point or thorny issue” between the two countries, the Chinese ambassador said on Monday, as he criticised the government for discriminating against a Chinese company.

Cheng Jingye dismissed concerns Huawei may pose a threat to Australia’s national security given its links to the communist Chinese government, and said Australia’s ban was “politically motivated”.

“It is, it is,” he told Sky News. “I mean, it is a discrimination against the Chinese company. At the same time it doesn’t serve the best interest of the Australian companies and consumers …

“I mean, as far as I know the Huawei company in Australia, they have, I mean, tried in every means to talk with the Australian authorities to explore what security risks or concerns you have. And also they have pledged, I think publicly, to conclude a no-backdoor agreement.”

The Turnbull government blacklisted both Huawei and ZTE from Australia’s 5G network in August 2018 in response to security advice. The United States has also banned Huawei, and warned that European allies who used communications technology provided by it in their networks put intelligence relationships at risk.

Australia has been pulled into the spat. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the deputy chairman of the parliamentary intelligence committee, Labor MP Anthony Byrne, criticised the visiting UK foreign affairs secretary, Dominic Raab, over Boris Johnson’s decision in January to allow Huawei to build its 5G network.