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.


UK says TikTok locating HQ in London would be a commercial decision

Updated 03 August 2020

UK says TikTok locating HQ in London would be a commercial decision

  • China’s ByteDance to set up TikTok headquarters in British capital, where it would join other tech majors such as Google and Facebook who have a strong presence there
  • Britain had been trying to walk a tightrope over Huawei until it sided with Washington last month by banning the company from its 5G networks from 2027

LONDON: Britain said the location of TikTok’s headquarters was a commercial decision after a newspaper report said the government had given the green light for its Chinese parent company to set up a head office in London for the popular short-video app.
The report in the Sun said the founders of China’s ByteDance would soon announce their intention to set up shop for TikTok in the British capital, where it would join other tech majors such as Google and Facebook who have a strong presence there.
A spokesman for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “It would be a commercial decision, and I’m not aware that one has been taken.” TikTok declined to comment.
Any move by ByteDance comes at a fraught time in relations between China and the West, exemplified by the battle over use in 5G telecom networks of kit made by China’s Huawei.
Britain had been trying to walk a tightrope over Huawei until it sided with Washington last month by banning the company from its 5G networks from 2027.
TikTok, whose stars such as Zachary King and Charli D’Amelio have gained worldwide popularity for their brief video performances, has also been in the firing line of US President Donald Trump over supposed security concerns.
Trump however reversed course on a plan to ban the app after Microsoft Corp. emerged as a possible buyer of TikTok’s US operations and he gave the two firms 45 days to come up with a deal.
London has also clashed with Beijing over the imposition of a new security law in Hong Kong but Johnson has said he is a Sinophile, and the British government would welcome another large tech investment in Britain particularly as the Coronavirus crisis sends the economy into a deep recession and possible trade disruptions loom over Brexit.