B__________. Huawei is not “owned or controlled by the Chinese military.”

Reuters mis-reports ” The Trump administration has determined that top Chinese firms, including telecoms equipment giant Huawei Technologies and video surveillance company Hikvision, are owned or controlled by the Chinese military … The DOD document also includes China Mobile Communications Group and China Telecommunications Corp.”

The truth is the first casualty in a war, but Reuters editors should have known better. The question of Huawei’s ownership has often been discussed in the press. The company’s answer, that it is owned by an employee trust, is pretty clear, although the decisions of that trust are not transparent. It appears a handful of senior employees have defacto control.

Since the U.S. has targeted Huawei, hundreds of agents have investigated the company with the full power of National Security Agency tools. It’s highly likely that if the military were in control, there would be evidence found by now. I have no proof but the inference is well supported.

The claims about China Mobile & China Telecom are clearly false.

They are clearly under MIIT, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Minister Miao Wei has very publicly set the priorities for the companies. Miao has publicly fired chief executives and clearly is in charge.

Both companies are publicly traded and audited. They have independent directors with backgrounds including Goldman Sachs.

Do the telcos work closely with the security forces? Probably. AT&T’s cooperation with the NSA was so extreme that CEO Randall Stephenson demanded a change in the law because he feared going to jail.

Reuters was right to cover the story because it may imply further sanctions. But reporters Alexandra Alper, Idrees Ali and David Shepardson as well as editors Leslie Adler and Christopher Cushing should not have written the story as though the claims are true.

All governments lie, I.F. Stone taught my generation.


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