China on Monday urged Western countries to stop “fabrications” about Huawei after a minister in Poland said, following the arrest of one of the company’s employees in Warsaw on charges of spying, that legislation was being considered to limit the use of the company’s products. Huawei is the world’s largest producer of telecommunications equipment.
Minister of Internal Affairs Joachim Brudzinski has called on the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to consider denying the Chinese company access to markets, reported Reuters.
The employee, identified as Wang Weijing, and a Polish security official were arrested on Friday. Huawei fired Wang, who was responsible for sales to public sector clients in Poland, saying the incident had brought the company “into disrepute”, reported Bloomberg.
Wang’s LinkedIn profile shows that he served as an attache to the Chinese Consul General in Gdansk from 2006 to 2011 before joining the technology company. However, a spokesman for the Polish security services said the spying allegations against Wang were not directly linked to Huawei.
The detentions in Warsaw follow the arrest in December of Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s chief financial officer in Canada, for allegedly covering up the company’s links to a firm that had sold equipment to Iran, sidestepping international sanctions.
Huawei has been under scrutiny in the West following allegations by the United States that China uses the company’s devices for espionage. President Donald Trump signed a bill in August to prevent government officials from using phones manufactured by the company, and was said to be considering an executive order to extend the ban to US businesses. Following the US’ lead, Australia and New Zealand also placed restrictions on the use of Huawei mobile phones while Germany is weighing options.
Criticising the moves being considered by western nations, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Monday said “some people” sought to use “groundless accusations” about security threats to “suppress and restrict Chinese technology companies’ development abroad”.
“We urge relevant parties to cease the groundless fabrications and unreasonable restrictions toward Huawei and other Chinese companies,” Hua said.
A nationalist newspaper in China took a hard line over the Huawei official’s arrest in Poland, saying the European country “must pay”.
“Beijing should resolutely negotiate with Warsaw and conduct relative counter-measures, helping the world understand that Poland is an accomplice of the US,” the Global Times said in a strongly worded editorial. The newspaper, which has links to the ruling Communist Party, said that not responding to Poland’s actions could give the impression that Chinese enterprises could be bullied.