- Huawei is back in the spotlight after reports that another executive at the Chinese tech company was detained.
- The Huawei executive was arrested in Poland on suspicion of spying for the Chinese government, according to multiple news reports.
- It’s the second arrest of a Huawei executive in two months. Meng Wanzhou, the company’s chief financial officer and the daughter of Huawei’s founder, was detained in December on charges of violating US trade sanctions with Huawei’s business dealings in Iran.
- The US and other Western countries have been wary of Huawei and have expressed concerns that the company’s telecoms equipment could be used by the Chinese government for spying.
An executive at the Chinese tech giant Huawei was arrested in Poland on suspicion of spying on behalf of the Chinese government, according to multiple reports.
This is the second high-profile arrest of an employee at Huawei in two months. The company’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was detained in Canada in December and faces charges that she violated US trade sanctions.
Poland’s spying allegations against a Huawei employee add fuel to cybersecurity concerns expressed by the US and other Western countries, including that Huawei and other Chinese tech giants have ties to the government, something these companies have consistently denied.
Officials have suggested that Chinese smartphones and telecommunications equipment could be used for spying and to gain access to sensitive information. And, as The Verge pointed out, a Chinese law says companies in the country are required to “support, cooperate with, and collaborate in national intelligence work.”
However, Polish authorities told Reuters the spying allegations were related to the actions of the Huawei employee and not necessarily linked to the company itself.
Sources told The Wall Street Journal that the Huawei employee is a sales director in Poland and identified him as Weijing Wang.
Wang and a Polish citizen were reportedly charged with espionage and have pleaded not guilty. The men could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
Polish authorities recently searched Wang’s home and Huawei’s Polish offices in connection with his arrest, The Journal reported.
Huawei told Reuters it was aware of the situation but had no immediate comment. The Chinese government said in a statement to the outlet that it was “greatly concerned” by the arrest and told Poland to handle the case “justly.”
Chinese authorities have been critical of how last month’s arrest of Meng, Huawei’s CFO, was handled. China warned of “grave consequences” and later detained two Canadian citizens in China. On Wednesday, a Chinese official accused Canada of “Western egotism and white supremacy.”
Meng, 46, is also the daughter of Huawei’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, one of the richest men in China. The high-profile arrest has threatened relations between the US and China amid a contentious trade war.
Meng was released last month on bail of more than $7 million. She is accused of hiding her company’s ties to Skycom, a small telecoms subsidiary that prosecutors allege conducted business dealings in Iran in violation of US trade sanctions.
Meng is scheduled to appear back in court in early February and may be extradited to the US. Until then, she’s under the strict conditions of her bail, including electric monitoring and around-the-clock security detail.