Huawei founder defiant amidst U.S. accusations

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Ren Zhengfei, founder of Huawei
via Getty Images/Bloomberg

On Monday, Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei appeared in his first internationally broadcast interview since the highly controversial arrest of his daughter and Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou. Mr. Ren was defiant throughout the appearance, insisting that the U.S.’s hostility towards the company could not harm it.

The U.S. government has accused the company of sweeping of fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy charges along with two of its subsidiaries. U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue summarized the charges in a press release from the Justice Department:

“Huawei and its subsidiaries, with the direct and personal involvement of their executives, engaged in serious fraudulent conduct, including conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud, sanctions violations, money laundering and the orchestrated obstruction of justice.”

The U.S. has also made efforts to isolate Huawei on an international level by pressuring other countries to take part in a boycott. However, according to Ren, U.S. efforts would prove unsuccessful in bringing Huawei to its knees. He said:

“There’s no way the US can crush us. The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced. Even if they persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always scale things down a bit.”

Motive Behind Arresting Meng Wanzhou

On December 1, Canadian authorities arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver at the request of the U.S., which wanted to extradite her on charges of evading trade sanctions with Iran. There were several accusations against Ms. Meng which she had to defend herself against before the being granted bail. The issue swiftly became one of severe diplomatic significance amidst the U.S.-China trade war.

Ms. Meng’s father has openly claimed in the interview that the motive behind Meng’s arrest was purely political. Mr. Ren denied the accusations against Huawei and its CFO, saying:

“Firstly, I object to what the U.S. has done. This kind of politically motivated act is not acceptable. The U.S. likes to sanction others, whenever there’s an issue, they’ll use such combative methods. We object to this. But now that we’ve gone down this path, we’ll let the courts settle it.”

Other Takeaways

In an announcement on Monday, British intelligence announced that it would not pursue a total Huawei ban and that any cybersecurity risks posed by the company would be manageable. This prompted Mr. Ren to announce that Huawei would invest more in the U.K.:

“We still trust in the UK, and we hope that the U.K. will trust us even more. We will invest even more in the U.K. Because if the US doesn’t trust us, then we will shift our investment from the U.S. to the U.K. on an even bigger scale.”

As Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. have already announced bans on Huawei and Canada is considering one, the U.K.’s announcement is good news for the tech company.

Addressing the spying allegations, Zhengfei said:

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

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