Chinese telecommunication equipment vendor Huawei Technologies has dismissed a U.S. House of Representatives report questioning the company's ties to the Chinese government, with a Huawei official suggesting the report was politically motivated.
"The report is a political distraction and is rapidly being recognized as such," William Plummer, Huawei's vice president for external affairs, said in an email Tuesday. "Huawei is the same globally trusted and respected company today as we were last week. Nothing has changed, politically inspired China-bashing aside. Huawei is Huawei, Huawei is not China."
The House Intelligence Committee released a report Monday calling on the U.S. government and its contractors to avoid networking equipment from Huawei and fellow Chinese telecom vendor ZTE because of the companies' ties to the Chinese government.
The committee also recommended that U.S. companies avoid using equipment from the two Chinese vendors.
Plummer defended the company, saying the quality and security of its products are "world proven" by more than 500 customers. Some analysts also suggested the report, coming after a yearlong investigation, is motivated by lawmakers' re-election efforts.
But some members of the committee praised the report, saying they are concerned about the relationship between the Chinese government and the two companies.
"At a time when Chinese collection intelligence efforts against the United States are significant, and Chinese theft of American trade secrets is rampant, handing critical telecommunications infrastructure to Huawei and ZTE poses too great a threat to our security and economy," Representative Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, said in a statement.
The Chinese government can access the two companies' telecom equipment at any time under Chinese law, Schiff said. "The coercive power of the Chinese government is simply too great," he added.
Representative Jim Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat and another committee member, said Huawei and ZTE were evasive in their answers to committee questions.
"The committee gave these companies every opportunity to demonstrate their good intentions," he said in a statement. "They did not do so, and instead provided incomplete and evasive answers to the committee's questions."
U.S. telecom networks are among the nation's most critical infrastructure, Langevin added. "We cannot afford to give out access to these networks to those we cannot trust, especially at a time when we are seeing constant attempts from inside China to steal intellectual property from our businesses and access our most sensitive government networks," he said.
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.