Congress is interested in speaking to China’s top telecommunications firms as part of an ongoing investigation in to their organizational structures, history, and potential ties to China’s PLA.
The House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has asked both ZTE Corp and Huawei to testify at a hearing next week. One of the items discussed with be the companies’ relationships with China’s government, including the PLA. While ZTE has issued a statement to the fact that it “intends to participate in the upcoming congressional hearing.”
In letters to the two firms, obtained by Reuters and dated June 12, the House panel asked them to provide details on their relationship with Chinese authorities, as well as the Communist Party and ministries of defense and state security. The letters explained that such explanations were related to the panel’s investigation into “the threat posed to our critical infrastructure and counter-intelligence posture by companies with potential ties to the Chinese government.”
ZTE Corp is clear on their participation, but the company that has the most people panicked on Capitol Hill, Huawei, is coy on the topic of the hearings and investigations. However, that doesn’t mean that Huawei is a stranger to D.C. According to the Washington Post, Huawei has quadrupled their spending on lobbyists, to the tune of nearly $820,000 in the first half of 2012.
The boost in spending, the company said, is one of the ways they plan to counter the fear that they are working for the PLA, a claim they deny. Answering questions on the boost in lobbyist expenses, the company told the Post that they were seeking to “clarify the facts about the company and undo misperceptions, and we’ve resourced ourselves accordingly...”
Moreover, in terms of the investigation, “...we’ve been engaged in an open and cooperative dialogue and exchange of information for almost nine months, and look forward to further cooperating with the committee,” the company said.