The US attacks on Huawei betrays its fear of being left behind

As a top Huawei executive, I’m often asked why the US has launched a full-scale assault on us. The Americans have charged us with stealing technology and violating trade sanctions, and largely blocked us from doing business there. Mike Pence, US vice-president, recently told Nato of “the threat posed by Huawei”, and Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, warned allies that using our telecommunications equipment would make it harder for the US to “partner alongside them.”

作为华为(Huawei)的一名高管,我经常被人问到这样的问题:美国为什么对我们发起了全面攻势?美国人指控我们窃取技术和违反贸易制裁规定,并基本上阻止我们在美国开展业务。美国副总统迈克•彭斯(Mike Pence)最近对北约(Nato)谈到了“华为构成的威胁”。美国国务卿迈克•蓬佩奥(Mike Pompeo)警告盟国,使用我们的电信设备将会使美国更难以与“与他们合作”。

On Tuesday at the Mobile World Congress, the industry’s largest trade show, a US delegation led by Ajit Pai, Federal Communications Commission chair, repeated the call to keep Huawei out of global 5G networks.

周二,在业内最盛大的展会世界移动通信大会(Mobile World Congress)上,由美国联邦通信委员会(Federal Communications Commission)主席阿吉特•派(Ajit Pai)率领的一个美国代表团,再次呼吁将华为排除在全球5G网络之外。

Washington has cast aspersions on Huawei for years. A 2012 report by the House Intelligence Committee labelled us a threat. But, until recently, these attacks were relatively muted. Now that the US has brought out the heavy artillery and portrayed Huawei as a threat to western civilisation, we must ask why.

华盛顿方面多年来一直在诋毁华为。美国众议院情报委员会(House Intelligence Committee)在2012年的一份报告中就声称华为是一个威胁。但直到不久以前,这类攻击还相对温和。现在,美国已经搬出重炮,将华为描述成对西方文明的威胁,对此我们一定得问问为什么。

I believe the answer is in the top secret US National Security Agency documents leaked by Edward Snowden in 2013. Formed in 1952, the NSA monitors electronic communications, such as email and phone calls, for intelligence and counter-intelligence purposes.


The Snowden leaks shone a light on how the NSA’s leaders were seeking to “collect it all” — every electronic communication sent, or phone call made, by everyone in the world, every day. Those documents also showed that the NSA maintains “corporate partnerships” with particular US technology and telecom companies that allow the agency to “gain access to high-capacity international fibre-optic cables, switches and/or routers throughout the world”.

斯诺登的泄密事件让人联想到美国国家安全局领导人如何“全力以赴”收集每天世界上每个人发送的电子通讯或拨出的电话。 这些文件还表明,美国国家安全局与特定的美国技术和电信公司保持“公司合作伙伴关系”,允许该机构“获取全世界大容量国际光纤电缆,交换机和/或路由器”。

Huawei operates in more than 170 countries and earns half of its revenue abroad but its headquarters are in China. This significantly reduces the odds of a “corporate partnership”. If the NSA wants to modify routers or switches in order to eavesdrop, a Chinese company will be unlikely to co-operate. This is one reason why the NSA hacked into Huawei’s servers. “Many of our targets communicate over Huawei-produced products,” a 2010 NSA document states. “We want to make sure that we know how to exploit these products.”

华为在170多个国家开展业务,其收入的一半来自海外,但其总部位于中国。 这大大降低了“企业合作伙伴关系”的可能性。 如果国家安全局希望修改路由器或交换机以便窃听,中国公司将不太可能合作。 这就是NSA攻击华为服务器的原因之一。 “我们的许多目标通过华为生产的产品进行通信,”2010年NSA文件指出。 “我们希望确保我们知道如何利用这些产品。”

Clearly, the more Huawei gear is installed in the world’s telecommunications networks, the harder it becomes for the NSA to “collect it all”. Huawei, in other words, hampers US efforts to spy on whomever it wants. This is the first reason for the campaign against us.

显然,在世界电信网络中安装的华为设备越多,国家安全局就越难“全部收集”。 换句话说,华为阻碍美国监视任何人想要的事情。 这是反对我们的运动的第一个原因。

The second reason has to do with 5G. This latest generation of mobile technology will provide data connections for everything from smart factories to electric power grids. Huawei has invested heavily in 5G research for the past 10 years, putting us roughly a year ahead of our competitors. That makes us attractive to countries that are preparing to upgrade to 5G in the next few months.

第二个原因与5G有关。 这一最新一代移动技术将为从智能工厂到电网的各种数据提供数据连接。 过去10年来,华为在5G研究方面投入了大量资金,比我们的竞争对手领先了大约一年。 这使我们对准备在未来几个月升级到5G的国家具有吸引力。

If the US can keep Huawei out of the world’s 5G networks by portraying us as a security threat, it can retain its ability to spy on whomever it wants. America also directly benefits if it can quash a company that curtails its digital dominance. Hobbling a leader in 5G technology would erode the economic and social benefits that would otherwise accrue to the countries that roll it out early. Meanwhile, a range of US laws, including most recently the Cloud Act, empowers the US government to compel telecom companies to assist America’s programme of global surveillance, as long as the order is framed as an investigation involving counter-intelligence or counter-terrorism.

如果美国可以通过将华为描述为安全威胁来使华为远离世界5G网络,那么它可以保留其监视任何想要的人的能力。 如果美国能够破坏一家削减其数字主导地位的公司,美国也会直接受益。 蹒跚着成为5G技术的领导者会削弱经济和社会效益,否则这些效益将会提前给那些提前推出的国家。 与此同时,一系列美国法律,包括最近的“云法案”,授权美国政府强迫电信公司协助美国的全球监控计划,只要该指令被定为涉及反情报或反恐的调查。

The fusillade being directed at Huawei is the direct result of Washington’s realisation that the US has fallen behind in developing a strategically important technology. The global campaign against Huawei has little to do with security, and everything to do with America’s desire to suppress a rising technological competitor.

针对华为的猛烈炮火是华盛顿意识到美国在开发具有重要战略意义的技术方面落后的直接结果。 针对华为的全球运动与安全无关,而与美国压制技术竞争对手的愿望有关。