Chinese firms deny charges of spying for government

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Chinese firms deny charges of spying for government

Two major Chinese technology companies on Thursday denied allegations that some of their equipment is designed to facilitate spying, but struggled to convince U.S. lawmakers that they are independent from the dictates of Beijing’s communist government.

Raising their right hands, executives of Huawei Technologies and ZTE took an oath before testifying to the House Intelligence Committee, in what was a rare appearance by Chinese business leaders before a congressional panel. The hearing lasted three hours and the executives answered questions through interpreters.

The committee is finalizing a yearlong probe into whether the companies pose a risk to U.S. national security. They are among the world’s largest suppliers of telecommunications gear and want to expand their operations in the United States. Huawei is a private company, founded by a former Chinese military engineer. ZTE is partly state-owned.

The committee’s top Democrat, Representative C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, said the U.S. National Counterintelligence Executive had issued a report detailing the volume of Chinese-enabled cyber-attacks, and the actions of China’s government in this regard were the biggest obstacle to the tech giants expanding in the U.S. market.

“If you want to do business in the United States,” Ruppersberger said, “then you have to tell your Chinese government to stop cyber-attacking our businesses.”

Both companies denied being influenced by the Chinese government. AP

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