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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Boris buckles under pressure

by New Worker correspondent

BORIS JOHNSON bowed to American pressure this week, banning the purchase of 5G technology from Huawei, the Chinese IT corporation, on the bogus grounds that this could open the door to Chinese intelligence surveillance.

The Johnson government announced at the start of the year that it would allow Huawei to participate in its 5G rollout but it made a grovelling U-turn on Tuesday to appease the Americans, who have been putting the screws on their NATO allies to join in its trade war against People’s China. Britain will now stop using Huawei tech in its 5G networks by 31st December and remove all the existing equipment by 2027.

Ed Brewster, Huawei UK’s communications director, said: “This disappointing decision is bad news for anyone in the UK with a mobile phone. It threatens to move Britain into the digital slow lane, push up bills and deepen the digital divide.

“Instead of ‘levelling up’ the government is levelling down and we urge them to reconsider. We remain confident that the new US restrictions would not have affected the resilience or security of the products we supply to the UK.

“Regrettably our future in the UK has become politicised. This is about US trade policy and not security. Over the past 20 years, Huawei has focused on building a better connected UK. As a responsible business, we will continue to support our customers as we have always done.”

Back in Washington, the US President praised the decision from the man he once called “Britain’s Trump”.

“We convinced many countries, many countries – and I did this myself for the most part – not to use Huawei because we think it’s an unsafe security risk, it’s a big security risk,” Trump said. But this was dismissed by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, which said Trump’s comments confirmed the fact that the latest ban on the company was not about “national security” but rather “political manipulation”.

The Trump administration banned Huawei from working with US companies last year and they claim that Huawei’s 5G operations in Britain could compromise America’s security and intelligence-sharing between the members of the Five Eyes alliance, which also includes Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden told Parliament on Tuesday the UK will ban the purchase of 5G infrastructure from the Chinese tech giant starting from the end of 2020, arguing that the decision was about “the long-term security of our telecoms”.

Huawei is 99 per cent owned by its 180,000 workers through their union. Its products and technology are deployed in over 170 countries, serving more than one-third of the global population. It has been operating in the British market for some two decades. The Chinese company employs 1,600 people in Britain, and supplies telecoms network equipment to all the major mobile and broadband service providers.

The Huawei ban will almost certainly lead to higher prices and delays in the 5G roll-out. “Outages would be possible” if BT is forced to pull out Huawei’s 5G kit too quickly, BT’s chief executive Philip Jansen told the BBC this week, and depending on how big or how intrusive the work to be carried out is, users would lose their signal, “sometimes for a couple of days”, Vodafone UK’s Head of Networks Andrea Dona said.

In Beijing, the people’s government said the Huawei ban was about the “politicisation of commercial and technological issues” and not “national security”, whilst the Chinese ambassador to the UK said he was disappointed with the decision.

A “disappointing and wrong decision by the UK on Huawei,” Liu Xiaoming said, adding: “It has become questionable whether the UK can provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory business environment for companies from other countries.”