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China ‘Dissatisfied’ After Germany Hints at Plan to Ban Huawei, ZTE

Darren Maung
Darren is an aspiring writer who wishes to share or create stories to the world and bring humanity together as one. A massive Star Wars nerd and history buff, he finds enjoyable, heart-warming or interesting subjects in any written media.
Published: March 9, 2023
Following reports of Germany about to ban equipment from Chinese-owned companies Huawei and ZTE, Beijing becomes distraught over the allegations. (Image: Jeremy Moeller/AFP via Getty Images)

Word has been going around that Germany is planning to ban Huawei and ZTE from their 5G network, leaving China baffled by the reports. 

Though Berlin has not confirmed this, the government is reportedly preparing to beef up its measures for national security.

Beijing’s ‘disappointment’

Appalled by the reports, Beijing decried Berlin for supposedly making a decision “without any factual basis”, al-Jazeera wrote.

“China firmly opposes Germany’s generalization of the concept of national security and abuse of state power to intervene in the market in its cooperation with China, which not only violates economic laws and the principle of fair competition, but also harms others rather than benefits itself,” the Chinese embassy in Berlin said in a statement on Mar. 8.

According to the German newspaper Zeit on Mar. 6 — citing government sources — the government is planning to restrict telecom companies from utilizing equipment from Huawei and ZTE, two of China’s most prominent tech titans. 

The newspaper also reported that Germany’s cybersecurity agency and interior ministry spent months examining its 5G networks for any dangers to their security.

Reuters then reported that Germany could ban “a specific supplier” from giving certain components “if it were deemed to be directly or indirectly controlled by the government of another state,” a document from the interior ministry read.

For years, Huawei and ZTE have been accused by several countries, particularly those part of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance — the U.S., Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand of having surveillance ambitions with their equipment. These nations have already banned Huawei from their networks, citing national security concerns.

Huawei and ZTE have since denied these claims.

“The German government should listen carefully to the rational voice in its country,” the Chinese embassy said.


Berlin’s plans

Ever since trouble with Huawei started with the U.S., Germany has been caught in the middle. China is still one of Berlin’s most important trading partners. The government even announced in 2019 that they “wouldn’t make such a move,” CNBC reported.

Last year, Germany was criticized for allowing the China Ocean Shipping Company to have shares in a firm that operates terminals at the Hamburg port. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was also lambasted after visiting Beijing last November, declaring that he would not detach partnership with the communist government.

However, pressure continues to build over the matter of potential threats by the Chinese tech giants, with many countries discarding equipment from Huawei in their networks.

“Under Angela Merkel, Germany consistently played down the risks arising from the country’s close economic relationship with China. This was particularly evident in the debate over 5G, where years of political dithering resulted in Huawei taking an ever-bigger market share,” Noah Barkin, managing editor of research firm Rhodium Group’s China practice, told CNBC.

Amidst fading European Union and China relations, Germany has been reconsidering its ties with Beijing, lining up with other countries’ views of China as “a partner for cooperation” but also a “systematic rival.”