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China: National Security Threat or Trade Protectionism?

Last week on 8 October 2012, the U.S. House Intelligence Committee released an investigative report accusing two major Chinese telecommunications companies, Huawei and ZTE of posing threat to U.S national security. The committee was concerned that the companies’ networking equipment could potentially help the Chinese military or other Chinese government intelligence agencies collect sensitive data from computer systems and mobile networks. Both companies also have a history of selling surveillance devices to repressive regimes such as Iran and Libya.

To counter the attack, several media outlets in China have run a number of news commentaries in the past few days that the dispute would end up in a “protectionism” trade war and “could be disastrous for enterprises in both countries”. the opinion of Nei Guangnan, a professor from the China Academy of Sciences, that China should protect its “information sovereignty [zh]” had been widely quoted.

The nationalistic position has won many echoes in Chinese social media, some even criticize the Chinese government for being too soft in protecting domestic businesses [zh]:

王峰213:美国天天以威胁国家安全为由阻止华为中兴投标,为什么就不见中国政府以威胁国家完全为由禁止思科等企业进入中国市场呢?对等原则嘛。

Wang Feng 213: The U.S government uses national security as a pretext to block Huawei and ZTE from entering their market, why doesn't Chinese government use the same excuse? Make it fair.

鄭峻:不仅是华为,中国公司在美国遭遇歧视对待是不争事实,多少规模、技术及行业都不重要的正常收购交易都被美国否决。中国一样有贸易壁垒,本是各国正常情况;但作为中国人,不管不顾美国的双重标准和贸易保护,反而来用政治眼光苛责华为这家在海外发展最为成功的中国企业,实在令人匪夷所思。写给某些人。

Leo Zheng: Not only Huawei, other Chinese businesses in the U.S are facing discrimination. The U.S government has banned quite a number of exchanges in different industries. China also have its own trade barriers, but as Chinese we have to be critical of the U.S government's double standard and protectionism rather than making harsh comments against our own successful businesses. I can't understand this. Just want to remind some people of their stand.

方兴东:10年前华为员工数大约思科一半,收入十分之一。而今天,华为人员是思科两倍,华为研发人员就超过思科员工总数!国际专利方面华为2006年就全面超越思科。所以华为中兴事件本质是中国高科技企业真正崛起,思科等无法通过技术创新和公平手段竞争,才丧失企业家精神基本价值观,无赖般地将市场问题政治化。

Fang Xingdong: 10 years ago, Huawei was half the size of Cisco in terms of employee numbers, while income was one tenth of Cisco's. Today, Huawei's employees are double the size of Cisco, the number of people in Huawei's research team is more than the total number of employees in Cisco. Since 2006, Huawei has obtained more patents than Cisco. Huawei and ZTE reflect the strength of Chinese high-tech industry. Cisco fails to compete with them, gives up its entrepreneurial spirit and politicizes the market competition.

老杳:华为美国安全调查事件,真正需要反思的是中国政府,外交部仅仅说一句:“美国应该抛开成见,努力促进贸易经济交往。”是完全不够的,华为设备卖到美国如果有安全问题,思科的设备到中国就没有安全问题?随着中国企业的逐步做强,如果政府继续不作为,将成为中国经济增长的最大障碍。

Blovesky: The Chinese government should reflect upon the U.S investigation of Huawei. It is not enough for the Foreign Affair Ministry to say: The U.S government should give up its prejudice and promote economic exchange. If Huawei poses a national security threat to the U.S, Cisco does the same thing to China? Chinese corporates are growing bigger and stronger, if the Chinese government does nothing to ensure their status, it would hamper the country's economic growth.

Some netizens, however, believe that the Chinese government is responsible for the trade war. Below are some comments picked up from the Southern Metropolis’ discussion thread [zh] at Sina Weibo:

灣區的BDTB:全世界都一样。当年的谷歌也被类似的理由被掐死在中国,还不是为了保护度娘。大家都一样,理由也一样:国家安全

未来花会开:华为董事长孙亚芳大学一毕业就进了国安局工作。多了解中国特色吧,华为到底是家什么公司?

东张西望_轻度:靠政府的中国垄断国企没前途, 靠政客的美国企业一样没有前途!

人来看猫:这种企业要没有间谍嫌疑鬼才相信。 说 QQ 没有替官方监控你觉得可能么?

青杨梅酸:民营企业为什么要设党组织,设党委呢?取消了美国人不就没籍口了?

Bayarea BDTB: The whole world is the same. Google was forced to leave China before. It is also a kind of protectionism. Everyone is the same, with the same reason: national security.

Future flower will open: The CEO of Huawei Sun Yafang started working in National Security Bureau soon after she graduated. Have some more knowledge about the Chinese characteristics, what kind of company is Huawei?

Looking east and west: Chinese corporate that monopolizes the market through government is useless. U.S corporate that depends on politicians is also hopeless.

See the cat: Who will believe these kinds of corporates do not have spies? Do you think it is possible that QQ is not spying on you for the government?

Green Plume: Why does a private corporate have a Party committee in it? The U.S would not find any pretext without such a set up.

Some point out that the problem may lie in the mainland Chinese business model, which tries to strengthen its link with the government in exchange for policy favor.

寒室花香:华为、中兴在美遇到不公正待遇,除了思科这个幕后黑手外,我们所付出的这笔学费值得所有中国企业深思:“闷声发财”、“渠道优先”、“人脉即金钱”等中国式经商思维在西方世界是否需要更高标准的修正?而品牌经营、知识产权与研发投入、政治游说与区域法律、国际资本运作等应该成为这次代价的反省。

Flower fragrant: Apart from the fact that Cisco is lobbying behind the scene, we have to reflect upon Chinese business culture. “Making profit in silence”, “creating back channel”, “capitalizing relations”, all these business practices have to be adjusted when entering the western business world. We should give more thought to areas such as brand building, intellectual property rights, research and development, political lobbying, regional law, international capital flow etc.

别笑我是认真的:企业成立党委党支部在普通企业看来,完全是为了向党政府示爱,表示归顺听话,先主动浑身染成红色,让党放心,不要惹麻烦。华为这种企业搞党建不知老板有没这种想法?企业发展到一定程度就是社会的,社会是党的,华为也就是党的,这个逻辑是不是美国议员的推理?党也是不是也有天下莫非王土的理念。

I am serious, don't laugh: The setting up of a Party Branch in a corporate is a gesture of love to the party. To show that you are loyal to the party. To taint the business with red color so that the party will trust you. I wonder if Huawei is sharing the same thought. Corporates belong to the society, society belongs to the Party. The U.S House representatives are using the same logic. The idea that all land in the kingdom belongs to the King has been upheld by the Party.

  • http://aloistmartinsequinox.blogspot.com/ Alois Saint-Martin

    There are lots of People who would like to see Wall Street and the EU make Nuclear Waste of China`s efforts at Modernization and Economic Detente @ !

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