Huawei employee arrested over alleged spying

Hugh Fox
January 14, 2019

Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei says it has sacked a Chinese employee who was arrested on spying charges in Poland, as the company sought to distance itself from the incident.

According to the LinkedIn profile of "Stanislaw Wang" - Wang's Polish name, according to Polish media TVP - the detained Huawei employee worked at the Chinese consulate in Gdansk, Poland prior to his tenure at the Chinese tech firm.

The company is a leader in the development of next-generation "5G" mobile networks and a key player in building them in Europe but some countries are starting to reconsider using Huawei's equipment over data security concerns.

The European Commission will seek information from Poland after national authorities arrested this week a Chinese Huawei employee and a Polish national over espionage allegations.

If convicted, they could face up to 10 years in prison.

"Huawei complies with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries where it operates, and we require every employee to abide by the laws and regulations in the countries where they are based", the company's statement added.

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No evidence has been produced publicly and the firm has repeatedly denied the claims, but the allegations have led several Western countries to restrict Huawei's access to their markets.

Some Chinese media commentators had warned in the nationalistic Global Times of coordination between Poland and the United States, which is seeking the extradition of Meng over Huawei's alleged breach of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

The Chinese foreign ministry said it is "greatly concerned" by the arrests and has urged Poland to act justly. Her arrest highlighted US accusations that Huawei broke sanctions against Iran, but the USA has also been pushing to try to curtail Huawei's influence, warning about the company's possible ties to Chinese intelligence and calling on countries to exclude the company as they build new 5G networks.

Polish officials have not charged Huawei with wrongdoing concerning Wang's case.

"Both carried out espionage activities against Poland", he said.

Huawei, founded by Ren Zhengfei-a former officer at China's People's Liberation Army-has been cited as a security risk in intelligence circles due to having close ties to the Chinese communist regime.

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Security services have also searched the Polish offices of Huawei and telecoms firm Orange, according to state public TV channel TVP.

A high ranking Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was also arrested by Canadian authorities in December 2018, at the request of the U.S. authorities.

Previous year it held talks with Poland's government about setting up a science-and-technology center near Warsaw, and is working local units of French mobile operator Orange SA and Germany's Deutsche Telekom to set up fifth-generation, or 5G, wireless networks.

The arrests will no doubt be seen as an escalation in the tit-for-tat detention of employees between China and western countries like Canada and the US since December 1, 2018.

Most of Canada's allies in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance have banned the Chinese telco from their emerging 5G networks, the next evolution in wireless internet technology.

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