The French Ministry of Defense’s Institute for Strategic Studies of the Military Academy (IRSEM) released a report titled “Influential Chinese Actions (CCP).” The lengthy report reveals Huawei’s close relationship with the CCP, and the CCP’s use of state-owned and private companies like Huawei to collect vast amounts of data globally.
The CCP employs Huawei to collect massive amounts of data all over the world. For over a decade, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been collecting and stealing huge amounts of data globally and distributing it for civilian and military intelligence, propaganda, and information operations. Because of the CCP’s support, Huawei has grown into a telecommunications “giant.” Countries all over the world are concerned about Huawei’s security issues.
According to the IRSEM report, the main executors of the CCP’s influence actions are the party’s allocated organs, the state, and some businesses. Public and private companies play an essential role in data collection, which significantly impacts the effectiveness of the CCP’s meaningful activities.
Infrastructure, particularly cables in buildings and beneath the sea, is used to collect data, as are new technologies, such as digital platforms WeChat, Weibo, and TikTok; companies such as Beidou and Huawei; and a number of databases, which used to provide information and preparations for the CCP’s influential overseas action.
For example, Beidou (the Beidou satellite) can not only put pressure on countries to adopt this type of navigation system but it is also thought to pose a spying risk; Huawei, a company that aggregates business across the entire value chain, has raised concerns from everyone due to its nature and possible relationships with security agencies and the military.
Global Tone Communication Technology Company (GTCOM), according to the report, is a big data and artificial intelligence company under the CCP Propaganda Department. The company that owns the Overseas Key Information Database (OKIBD) claims to have close ties to the military and the Department of National Security. This database collects personal information on millions of people, and specific targets by the CCP’s security, intelligence, and influence operations.
According to AFP, two former managers of Huawei’s Czech Republic branch, who requested anonymity, told Czech Public Radio in 2019 that the Huawei branch was secretly collecting personal data of customers, officials, and business partners, including the number of children, preferences, and financial status, among other things, to enter into the corporation’s database.
Huawei Corporation in Mainland China is in charge of this database. According to the IRSEM report, the information gathered will be used for discussions with members of the Chinese Embassy. Data on Czech officials were collected, and some of them were later invited to China.
The CCP’s intentions in the 5G network issue, including boycotting countries
At the request of the U.S., Canadian police arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver International Airport in December 2018. Ms. Meng Wanzhou admitted to violating U.S. law on September 25, 2021, and was released by Canada and returned to China. On the same day, former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian businessman Michael Spavor, who had been held by the CCP for nearly three years, were released.
According to the IRSEM report, the Sino-U.S. dispute over Huawei has been exposed since Meng’s arrest. Aside from the competitive factors, this incident exposed Beijing’s ambitions in 5G networks, prompting potential partners around the world to question 5G security concerns.
U.S. officials have long maintained that Huawei poses a national security risk and that Huawei equipment can be used by the CCP to conduct surveillance and espionage operations, and sabotage facilities.
According to the IRSEM report, the CCP has prioritized the development of 5G and the Digital Silk Road and has invested significant resources to support state-owned telecommunications companies, with Huawei clearly benefiting the most.
The report states that Huawei has indeed brought security concerns to those countries willing to entrust Huawei with the construction of all or a portion of their 5G infrastructure. In addition to security concerns, the risk of espionage remains a concern.
For example, when the Dutch telecom operator KPN installed Huawei technology in 2009, despite the Dutch Intelligence and Security Directorate (AIVD) repeatedly warning of the spying risk, KPN still authorized Capgemini to conduct a risk analysis.
Huawei has the ability to monitor KPN’s mobile phone numbers in an “unrestricted, unregulated, and unauthorized manner, including the mobile phone numbers of prime ministers and ministers, as well as all phone numbers in the phone book.” The report was kept secret until April 2021, when it was read and reported on by the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant.
Furthermore, the former executive director of Huawei’s Polish branch, Wang Weijing (Wang Weijing), was arrested by Polish authorities in January 2019. He was accused of acting as a “Chinese intelligence agent disguised as Huawei’s business activities in Poland” and providing these [intelligence] agencies with information that could be harmful to Poland.
Huawei’s relationship with the CCP
Huawei has struggled to dismiss its beneficial relationship with the CCP over the years. According to the IRSEM report, several reports mentioned the nature of this company and its relationship with the CCP’s military and national security agencies. As a result, when Huawei was founded, the company collaborated with the military.
According to reports, in the 1990s, Mr. Ren Zhengfei was involved in the establishment of a communication infrastructure network. This initial contract may have contributed to Huawei and the army developing a special relationship.
The Indian Intelligence Service announced in 2013 that Huawei and ZTE were part of the CCP military’s “Plan 863,” which allowed Ren Zhengfei’s company to control routers and switching devices.
Forbes confirmed Huawei’s collaboration with Guangzhou Boyu Information Technology. Guangzhou Boyu Information Technology Company has been identified as one of the CCP Government’s hacker organizations.
According to a U.S. Department of Justice indictment, the company is one of the companies responsible for the attack on the U.S. company. Huawei does not deny its connection to Guangzhou Boyu but claims that Guangzhou Boyu is only Huawei’s system review company.
According to the IRSEM report, Huawei also provided a “citywide surveillance system” and established a “partnership” with the CCP’s “police force.” Huawei also signed a “strategic cooperation agreement” with the Xinjiang police department.
Huawei has previously invited Zhong Lun Law Firm (Zhong Lun) to defend itself, denying that it serves the CCP government. Zhong Lun Law Firm, according to the report, “has a very close relationship with the CCP.” Zhang Xuebing, the chairman of this law firm, is also the party secretary of the Beijing Bar Association.
Li Yong, a former Vice Minister of Finance in China, has been the General Director of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (ONUDI) since 2013. Mr. Li, as the head of ONUDI, established the “Governorary Generalization of Partnerships and Offices Outside the Headquarters.” The power of this department is particularly significant; it has the authority to choose which countries can participate in the partnership program.
According to the report, there are no fewer than 19 Chinese nationals in positions of executive management in this organization. In November 2019, Mr. Li Tong signed a joint statement with Huawei Technologies Vice President to strengthen the UNIDO-Huawei partnership.
Previously, a joint research report written by Mr. Christopher Balding—associate professor at Fulbright University Vietnam and British foreign policy consulting organization—Henry Jackson Association (HJS), stated that Huawei has employees who have worked as special agents in the agency responsible for intelligence gathering and counterintelligence under China’s Ministry of State Security; they either have a collaborative project with the Chinese military or have a collaborative project with the Chinese military.