If you thought that President Trump’s personal desire to destroy Chinese telecoms provider Huawei was messy when it started, brace up. It’s about to get messier.
Per a report on the New York Times, the Chinese multinational giant is planning to sue the Trump administration in a bid to overturn a directive by the U.S government banning all federal agencies from using Huawei products.
The suit hasn’t been announced yet, but the report claimed that it would be filed at a court in the Eastern District of Texas, the location of Huawei’s American headquarters.
Washington’s Unrelenting Assault on Huawei
The American government accused the Chinese tech giant of producing equipment that has backdoors which provide spying opportunities. The accusations were part of a larger narrative, in which the Trump administration believes that Huawei is acting as a spy for the Chinese government.
Despite the lack of any credible evidence provided by the Trump administration, Huawei has nevertheless felt the ire of the American government.
The U.S. first classified Huawei as a threat to national security in a 2012 House report, where policymakers advised against using the company’s products. Huawei has continued to feel the effects of this love till date.
For the American legislative arm, the message couldn’t be any clearer; Huawei represented growing cancer that had to be cut off.
Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) earlier called Huawei a “fundamental risk to American national security.” It’s so bad that the Chinese firm’s name is now synonymous with “security risk” in the U.S.
The Pentagon even ordered stores on American military bases to halt the sale of smartphones from Huawei and other Chinese manufacturers, causing the tech giant to lose a major client- and of course, millions of dollars in revenue at the very least.
Top officials from the CIA, NSA, FBI and the Defense Intelligence Agency also informed a Senate Committee of the dangers that the use of Chinese smartphones posed on the country’s data and the privacy of its citizens.
For American private companies, there has been blowback as well. Beyond the restrictions from major wireless carriers like AT&T and Verizon from on Huawei’s equipment for their 5G rollout, President Trump also signed a bill that prevents federal agencies and contractors from using equipment designed by both Huawei and ZTE Technologies.
Was Meng the Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back?
Washington has not backed down since then. It has continued to pressurize Huawei, whose equipment is expected to play a pivotal role in the rollout of the next generation wireless networks worldwide.
Last year, Huawei’s Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada, on behalf of the U.S., on charges related to money laundering and helping Iran to dodge U.S.-imposed economic sanctions. At the time, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang had commented on the Asian country’s stance on the matter.
The Chinese side has made clear our solemn positions to the United States and Canada, and asked them to clarify the reason of the detention and to release the detainee immediately, and to earnestly safeguard the legal and legitimate rights and interests of the person involved.
Meng is currently seeking redress from a British Columbia court for her high profile detention in December.
According to the reports, Meng claims she was detained, searched and interrogated by people “under the guise of routine customs,” who forced her to provide evidence and private information to law enforcement.
Her suit reads:
This case concerns a deliberate and premeditated effort on the part of the defendant officers to obtain evidence and information from the plaintiff in a manner which they knew constituted serious violations of the plaintiff’s rights.
Canada, on the other hand, has approved her extradition proceedings to the U.S, much to Beijing’s chagrin. However, Meng might not step foot on American soil anytime soon, thanks to Canada’s slow-moving justice system and its propensity to allow appeals on many decisions.
Still, the fate of Meng will largely rest in the hands of the Canadian Federal Justice Minister.
The choice to be made will be between angering China or the United States, both of which Canada doesn’t have the best of relationships.
Political observers believe the Chinese would do everything within their power to make Canadians suffer, and they seem to have started.
Beijing arrested two Canadians, claiming that they pose a risk to Chinese national security. Subsequently, a Chinese court sentenced them to death.
Still, China won’t stop there, according to Charles Burton, a professor at Brock University.
Speaking with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., Burton said:
They’re not going to take this lying down … one shudders to think what the consequences could be.