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US politicians' hypocrisy

Publication Date : 15-10-2012

 

The recent United States Congress report on Huawei and ZTE, two Chinese telecommunications giants, once again drags innocent external institutions into US domestic politics.

On Oct. 8, the House of Representatives' Intelligence Committee published a report stating that: "Huawei and ZTE cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence and thus pose a security threat to the United States and to our systems." The report goes on to recommend that US regulators block mergers and acquisitions by Huawei and ZTE in the US and that US government computer systems not include any components from the two firms because that could pose an espionage risk.

Anyone with any common sense will agree with Huawei's spokesman, who called the accusations "dangerous political distractions" and realise that the accusations and recommendations in the report are unreasonable and unjustifiable.

The accusation that the two Chinese companies pose a security threat to the US is based on the assertion that they cannot be trusted to be free of State influence, a subjective judgment with no credible evidence to support it. Coming from a so-called intelligence panel, this is not very intelligent at all, since the US government has publicly and repeatedly recognised China as a partner, rather than an enemy. It is impossible for any company in the world to be entirely free of sate influence, including US companies, does that make them all a security threat to the US?

There are a lot of US companies operating in China, which have very strong links to the US government, such as Boeing and Motorola, yet the Chinese government has never called for the exclusion of these companies from the Chinese market. As a matter of fact, the Chinese authorities have tried their best to facilitate their operations.

The two Chinese companies that are alleged to pose a security threat to the US, operate in about 150 countries as welcome and respected partners without any problems.

US politicians have been making irresponsible and unfair accusations against China and Chinese companies for a long time, deliberately ignoring the facts and behaving in an arrogant and hypocritical manner. In a bid to deflect attention from their own culpability in causing the US' economic malaise, they blame the Chinese government and Chinese companies for the loss of American jobs, while opposing Chinese investments that would help create jobs for Americans. They complain about the trade imbalance between the US and China, yet they refuse to sell the products that Chinese companies want to buy. They lecture others on free trade and non-interference by the government, while repeatedly endorsing the opposite.

China is an emerging power, and some US politicians fear the fact it may grow strong enough to challenge the global supremacy of the US. But should that motivate these politicians to take advantage of the misguided sentiments of some of the American people and risk harming the mutually beneficial China-US economic relations and damaging international trade environment?

In fact, the politicians should know that their actions may backfire and harm the US' national interests. The Huawei spokesman warns that the report "recklessly threatens American jobs and innovation, and does nothing to protect national security". But perhaps the politicians don't care, and they are only interested in their own short-term political gains.

The report states that: "China has the means, opportunity and motive to use telecommunications companies for malicious purposes." But such baseless assertions are being maliciously used by US politicians for their own purposes. This latest report comes in the midst of the endgame in the campaigning for the US presidential election in which China has been used as a scapegoat for the US' economic woes and each candidate has tried to show it will bash China the hardest if elected. They have unhesitatingly put their partisan interests above the interests of the American nation and their people.

Yet, the two sides have so much to gain from cooperation with each other. And, in fact, the leaders and people of both China and the US are working hard to develop a constructive relationship, jointly exploring ways to build a new type of the state-to-state relationship featuring win-win results. However, this requires mutual respect, mutual accommodation and healthy competition. Unfortunately and regrettably, such a biased report undermines all of these.

The author is a Beijing-based scholar of international relations

 

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