Readers air their views on the role of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei in the development of Britain’s 5G network
The government is right that Huawei is not owned by the Chinese regime, but it seems to have missed – or ignored – the fact that it is probably controlled by the Chinese Communist party (Conservatives will push next party leader to scrap Huawei’s ‘non-core’ 5G contract, 25 April). Huawei is technically majority-owned by its employee union. As with all legal trade unions in China, however, Huawei’s union will be controlled by the Communist party. Additionally, as with other large privately owned firms, Huawei has a party branch, currently headed by Zhou Daiqi. Although Mr Zhou is Huawei’s director of ethics and compliance, it is almost certainly in his role as party secretary that he serves as a member of Huawei’s executive committee.
As China is a Leninist state, it is the Communist party that ultimately controls all government agencies, state-owned companies and, probably, private companies where it has a formal presence. It seems highly likely that when it comes to strategic decisions, it is the party – via Mr Zhou – that controls Huawei. It beggars belief that the government does not understand the Communist party’s decisive role in Huawei. Consequently, we must ask why it’s planning to allow the company any role at all in Britain’s 5G network. Is it because Brexit Britain will be in desperate need of any investment, including that controlled by the Chinese Communist party? Or is there something else going on? If this were a Labour government, the rightwing media would be telling us that Jeremy Corbyn was in the pay of China. But Theresa May? Surely not.
Professor emeritus of international development, University of Bristol