Updates to this story
Huawei's chairman in the USA has written an open letter to anyone who cares to read it, where, acting as spokesman for a company part-funded by the oppressive Chinese Communist Party, attempts a gushing appraisal for democracy in the United States.
"Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow," Ken Hu quotes Abraham Lincoln as saying. Perhaps a more appropriate or apt line to pick would have been Lincoln's: "If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?" Or even: "Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves."
Untrue rumours and allegations, he begins, in a letter trying to quell fear that Huawei has acted shadily behind the back of US senators on an acquisition bid for 3Leaf. "Futurewei, Huawei's US subsidiary, purchased certain assets from 3Leaf, an insolvent technology start-up located in Santa Clara, in May and July 2010."
It was "when 3Leaf was ceasing its operations and no other buyers for its intellectual property were forthcoming," Hu says. He continues: "Huawei submitted a timely request to the Bureau of Industry and Security at the Department of Commerce in advance of completing the purchase." Hu claims the Department of Commerce was not shaky and no licence was required to export technology.
The inter-agency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States thought it smelled something fishy and stuck its nose in. Originally, Huawei intended to decline the CFIUS decision to withdraw: to "reveal the truth about Huawei". Later on it realised it was causing a lot of hubbub and withdrew its 3Leaf acquisition application this February.
Later, in the open letter addressed to all of the United States, Hu attempts to dispel what he calls rumours about Huawei's involvement with the Chinese military. It sheds some light on CEO Ren Zhengfei, claiming that the military allegation ties are simply because the top dog served in the People's Liberation Army in 1974, in civil engineering. In 1982, he was invited to the National Congress of the Communist Party of China because of his "outstanding performance" - so no ties there, then. As deputy director, Hu underlines that Ren had no military rank.
Throughout the entire letter, Hu bangs on about how much Huawei values the freedom that US democracy brings. It is gushing with references and even quotes Barack Obama on his hope speech. It must be noted that Huawei is, as a privately owned company, certainly part-funded by the Chinese government and the Bank of China. And speaking of openness and transparency - why has Huawei stayed so quiet until it accidentally became high profile for all the wrong reasons? Hu says simply that money from Chinese banks are part of a credit line to its customers, rather than directly to Huawei.
"As of today, US$10 billion has been loaned to our customers from the China Development Bank," Hu says.
Concluding, Hu and Huawei invite the United States to openly voice its concerns about security so that they can answer them. "We remain open to any investigation deemed necessary by American authorities and we will continue to cooperate transparently with all government agencies."