No 'silent lambs': China backs Huawei bid for US legal redress

March 08, 2019 16:17
State Councilor Wang Yi said China will support companies and individuals "to take up legal weapons to safeguard their rights and interests, and not be silent lambs”. Photo: Reuters

State Councilor Wang Yi said China supports Huawei Technologies’ bid for legal redress in the United States, adding that Chinese companies should use “legal weapons” and not be “silent lambs”.

The Chinese telecoms equipment maker has sued the US government, saying a law limiting its US business was unconstitutional, as Washington has sought to counter what it sees as China’s growing threat to US economic competitiveness and security.

The lawsuit marks another rift between China and the United States, which spent most of 2018 slapping import tariffs on billions of dollars worth of each other’s goods.

In December, Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada at the United States’ request and faces possible extradition.

Speaking at a news conference on the sidelines of China’s annual meeting of parliament, Wang said recent actions aimed at certain people and companies were “deliberate political suppression” and that the Chinese government would take “all necessary measures” to safeguards their interests.

“At the same time, we support relevant companies and individuals to take up legal weapons to safeguard their rights and interests, and not be silent lambs,” Wang said.

“What we must protect today is not only a company’s rights and interests, but the legitimate development interests of a country and its people,” he said.

By contrast, foreign firms in China have long feared speaking out about unfair conditions, concerned they might be the target of political retribution and not have legal recourse due to the ruling Communist Party’s tight control of courts.

Huawei, a privately owned firm, has faced criticism around the world that it could be employed as an intelligence-gathering arm of the Chinese government.

It has embarked on a public relations and legal offensive as Washington lobbies allies to abandon its products when building 5G networks, centering on a 2017 Chinese law requiring companies to cooperate with national intelligence work.

Answering a question on growing tensions between China and the US, Wang said that “substantive progress” had been made in those trade talks.

“We believe China and the United States will not and should not move toward confrontation,” Wang said, adding that a way to resolve “any difficult issue” could be found so long as it was based on mutual respect. Reuters

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