The Washington Post reported this week that Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei was found to have assisted the North Korea in their construction of a wireless telecommunications network. A direct breach of U.S. export regulations, the supplying of hardware components by Huawei to North Korea show yet again the clandestine nature of business conducted by CCP-backed Chinese technology companies.
Internal documents obtained by the Washington Post, released by a former Huawei employee citing the public need for the information contained in them, show past work orders and contracts pointing to agreements between Huawei and North Korea. The Chinese government and the government of North Korea are long-time political allies, with North Korea serving as a strategic barrier between China and U.S.-aligned South Korea. The Chinese tech giant has also been reported as a supplier of hardware to Cuba and Venezuela, two governments accused human rights violations similar to those of North Korea. These governments also run surveillance states much like that of China, a society hinged upon the power of the central government and the continuous repression of non-state approved ideals. It is also worth noting that this isn’t the first time a Chinese company has been caught supplying to North Korea, with tech giant ZTE caught violating sanctions on North Korea and Iran early in the Trump administration.
As the United States continues to investigate Chinese tech companies, it is important that lawmakers remember incidents like this one when choosing whether or not to conduct business with CCP-backed enterprises. Huawei has been fervent in their denial of wrongdoing, but incidents like this clear the ambiguity and show the true nature of these Chinese tech behemoths. While Huawei is the center of international concern right now, it is pertinent that the scope of attention be expanded to other Chinese tech giants, with the CCP also having vested interests, if not full control, of companies like Lenovo and China Electronics Technology Group. These enterprises could also be conducting shadowy business with U.S. sanctioned actors, violating export controls and showing their true allegiance to the CCP in the process.