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Huawei CEO Claims US Tension Won’t “Crush Us”

Huawei’s CEO has come out of the woodwork to dismiss the negative press his company has received, stating there is “no way the US can crush us”.

Ren Zhengfei sat down for an exclusive international interview with the BBC, numerous topics were discussed including cybersecurity and the arrest of his daughter and Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.

The US has levelled charges against the Chinese company and its CFO including bank fraud, money laundering, circumventing the US’s Iran sanctions, and stealing trade secrets.

Huawei, which is now facing US sanctions, has denied any wrongdoing and in the interview, Ren described the arrest of his daughter as “politically motivated”.

Although he did admit that the backlash could hurt the company, especially the US’s efforts to persuade allies to join their ban, but they would bounce back.

“Even if they persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always downsize and become smaller.”

Ren Zhengfei (left) with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Australia, New Zealand, and the US have all banned Huawei from providing equipment for future 5G broadband networks; Canada and the UK are reviewing the potential threat.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has stated that the risk posed by Huawei technology can be “managed”.

In the interview, Ren stated that in the event of a ban from the UK, Huawei “won’t withdraw our investment” and will “shift investment from the US to the UK on an even bigger scale.”

“If the lights go out in the West, the East will still shine. And if the North goes dark, there is still the South. America doesn’t represent the world. America only represents a portion of the world.”

Huawei CFO, Meng Wanzhou

Huawei’s CFO, Ren’s daughter Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver, Canada at the US’s request and could be extradited to the United States to face the 23 charges levelled against herself and Huawei.

“Firstly, I object to what the US has done,” said Ren. “This kind of politically motivated act is not acceptable.”

The anxiety surrounding the use of Huawei technology stems from the fact that Huawei’s technology may be used by China’s security services to spy on foreign individuals.

Under Chinese law, businesses must “support, co-operate with and collaborate in national intelligence work”.

“The Chinese government has already clearly said that it won’t install any backdoors,” says Ren.

“Our company will never undertake any spying activities. If we have any such actions, then I’ll shut the company down.”

Ren confirmed there is a Communist Party committee in Huawei, but stated that this is mandatory for all companies, both foreign and domestic, operating in China.

BBC’s Karishma Vaswani, the interviewer, attempted to persuade Ren to speak about his ties to the Chinese military and government, but Ren refused to bite, calling the links “allegations”.

Watch the full interview below:

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