Huawei criticized at home over ex-employee’s incarceration

Huawei Technologies Ltd. is the No. 2 global smartphone brand and the biggest maker of network gear for phone carriers. (File/AFP)
Updated 04 December 2019

Huawei criticized at home over ex-employee’s incarceration

  • Internet users and even the state media have called the company hypocritical for having an employee arrested on what turned out to be spurious allegations
  • Huawei responded to the allegations by Li Hongyuan, who was released without charge, by saying it had the “right and the duty” to report suspected illegal behavior

BEIJING: Chinese tech-giant Huawei’s reputation has been repeatedly attacked by the United States and others over allegations of Communist Party control.

Now its vaunted status at home has taken a blow over an ex-employee’s report that he was thrown in jail for eight months on extortion charges after attempting to negotiate a severance package.

Internet users and even the state media have called the company hypocritical for having an employee arrested on what turned out to be spurious allegations, while enjoying the backing of the Chinese people and their government and taking up the mantle of national champion.

Huawei responded to the allegations by Li Hongyuan, who was released without charge, by saying it had the “right and the duty” to report suspected illegal behavior, but that it supported Li’s right to seek legal recourse, including by suing the company.

Among the critics of that response was Hu Xijin, the outspoken editorial of the Communist Party tabloid Global Times, who said Huawei’s treating the incident as purely a legal affair and its refusal to apologize ignored the need to respond to public sentiment.

“I cannot but say that Huawei has this time lost ‘affection,’” Xi, known for his hard-line defenses of Chinese policies and institutions, wrote Tuesday on his official Microblog.

The Paper, an online news outlet owned by the Shanghai City government, said Huawei had trampled on “a citizen’s dignity and personal freedom.”

“You sue! That about sums up the feelings of the public who have waited a whole day for a response from Huawei to the Li Hongyuan case with no apology or explanation, no wiliness to explain, but just sheer condescension,” the paper wrote.

Huawei Technologies Ltd. is the No. 2 global smartphone brand and the biggest maker of network gear for phone carriers.

US authorities say the company is a security risk, which Huawei denies, and announced curbs in May on its access to American components and technology. Washington has pushed allies around the world to also shun the company, with only partial success.


Facebook Journalism Project and ICFJ launch fund to support Lebanon’s news industry

Updated 13 August 2020

Facebook Journalism Project and ICFJ launch fund to support Lebanon’s news industry

  • The new program will support local media outlets

The Facebook Journalism Project, in collaboration with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), has announced that it will invest $300,000 in a program that aims to support the stabilization and recovery needs of journalists and news organizations in Lebanon affected by the Beirut explosion.

The new program called “Supporting Beirut: Response and Recovery Fund” will assist in supporting local media outlets that have suffered damage to infrastructure and resources.

ICFJ and Facebook will award $150,000 in emergency relief funds to Beirut-based news organizations and journalists directly impacted by the blast and in need of urgent financial support.

The first phase of this program will involve identifying Lebanese news organizations and journalists who require financial support. These journalists and news organizations will then be able to apply for immediate emergency relief grants. ICFJ will award grants to select Beirut-based news organizations and journalists who meet a set criteria.

“Our hearts go out to the people of Lebanon and everyone affected by this immeasurable tragedy,” said Mohamed Omar, news partnerships manager, Middle East and North Africa, at Facebook. “We’ve been getting regular updates from our contacts in Beirut; the damage to the city’s infrastructure, including its many newsrooms, is enormous. In spite of these devastating circumstances, the news industry is working hard, under extraordinary conditions, to keep people informed and updated,” he said.

“We applaud their efforts and are continuously working with our partners to both understand their needs and support them the best we can,” he added.

ICFJ, a non-profit organization focused on raising the quality of journalism worldwide, will mobilize its local networks to implement a two-phase response and recovery initiative for the Beirut crisis.

Sharon Moshavi, ICFJ’s senior vice president for new initiatives, said: “People turn to local journalists for critical information on how to keep their friends, families and communities safe. As the impact of the devastating explosion continues to unfold in Beirut, ICFJ is prepared to work with the Facebook Journalism Project to provide tailored support to Lebanese journalists and news organizations that are providing critical information to a nation in crisis.”

The Facebook Journalism Project and ICFJ will offer additional, deeper support to select Beirut-based news organizations during phase two, depending on the longer-term impacts of the crisis.

Earlier this week, Facebook announced that it would donate more than $2.1 million to local hospitals, medical institutions and NGOs to support relief and recovery efforts, $1 million of which has been matched by its community as part of a Facebook fundraiser.