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China criticizes U.S. plans to ban Chinese telecommunications companies

 


The Chinese government on Thursday called on Washington to abandon efforts to ban Us state-owned telecommunications companies in a fresh showdown over technology and security.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted Wednesday to begin revoking U.S. licenses for such companies, describing them as security risks because they are controlled by Beijing's communist government.

The committee said the three telecommunications companies -- China Unicom, Pacific Networks, and ComNet -- failed to prove that their U.S. operations were not under undue influence from Beijing.

This strips companies of their right to operate within the United States, and the Committee said: The threat to our networks of entities allied with communist China is one that we must address directly.

"When it comes to communist China, we have set a high standard of work over the past few years.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has accused Washington of abusing security complaints to harm Chinese commercial competitors.

"The United States should stop the erroneous practice of mainstreaming the concept of national security, politicizing economic issues, and stopping the misuse of state power to unreasonably suppress Chinese companies," said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman.

The move signals further bad news for troubled u.S. operations, following a January decision by the New York Stock Exchange to ban them from trading.

In a statement following Wednesday's ruling, China Unicom, one of the world's largest telecommunications companies, insisted that it had never acted unlawfully and expected a thorough and fair, fact-based review of the company's conduct from the commission.

The decision comes amid a broader campaign by U.S. regulators to crack down on Chinese telecommunications groups they see as a threat to national security.

"Beijing is taking the necessary measures to protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies," said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman.

Chinese officials have issued similar warnings in the past, but those warnings have usually not resulted in any action.

The three companies sell international voice and data services. "Companies have been asked to explain their ownership and operations, and have failed to address the serious threats to national security posed by their ongoing operations in the United States," the committee said.

Earlier, the state-owned China Mobile company was banned from the US market in 2019 for security reasons.

Trump has also blocked access to most U.S. technology for telecommunications equipment giant Huawei and some other Chinese technology companies.

Trump issued an order barring Americans from investing in corporate securities that the Pentagon considers linked to the Chinese military.

Last week, regulators included technology giant Huawei in a list of telecommunications companies believed to pose an unacceptable risk, signaling that hopes for change with the United States under Biden are unfounded.

 

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