Eric Xu, chairman of China’s telecommunications giant Huawei Technologies, has rebuked US Senators Marco Rubio and Jim Banks for allegedly obstructing Huawei’s research alliances with American universities, citing a “threat” to national security. Xu went on to call them “ignorant” and “ill-informed,” and he also expressed that the company’s US education partnerships were solely based on science, having no links to the commercial products.
Over 24 members of Congress, including Banks and Rubio, wrote to US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, urging her to probe into Huawei’s campus program. They requested her to investigate US universities involved in research partnerships with the company, in order to identify if the People’s Republic of China stumbles upon US technology through US universities, and to draft recommendations, mainly for institutions that derive any sort of federal funding.
Moreover, in the past, Huawei has faced similar accusations by the US lawmakers of being a cyber-security threat to Americans. These accusations, however, could not be backed by substantial evidences and counteractions, until 2018. In January, the lawmakers persuaded AT&T to withdraw the agreement of selling Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro. Later, they also urged Google to reassess its collaboration with the company.
Currently, Huawei’s Innovations Research Program has tie-ups with over 200 universities globally, including Harvard and New York University. While the US government is distrustful about the collaboration, Sam Gyimah, England’s minister of universities, has appreciated the program for its open association and innovative scope.
Is it justified on the part of US lawmakers to attempt barring Huawei’s research alliances with American universities, or is it lack of their confidence in US cyber security establishments? However, there’s a lot more to this matter, as the tussle between Huawei and American lawmakers will surely affect the innovative research programs run across US universities. The US government must propose a backup program to counterbalance the impacts thereafter.