Huawei sacks employee arrested for allegedly spying for China in Poland

Arturo Kim
January 14, 2019

A Huawei executive arrested in Poland on charges of spying for China has been fired by the Chinese tech company.

Some European governments and telecom companies are following the US lead in questioning whether using Huawei for vital infrastructure for mobile networks could leave them exposed to snooping by the Chinese government.

The US criticism has led to a number of Western countries and companies to review whether they should allow Huawei's equipment to be used in their telecoms networks.

Western governments are anxious that Huawei's systems could be used by Chinese intelligence. Wang Weijing, the company's sales director in Poland, was detained of Friday along with a former Polish security official. Wang did not immediately respond to a request for comment via the social media site.

"The materials collected by the Internal Security Agency show that both men conducted espionage activities against Poland", Stanislaw Zaryn, a spokesman for Poland's secret services chief, said in a statement.

Poland's counterintelligence agency searched the local Huawei office and the home of the Chinese national, Poland's state-owned broadcaster reported Friday.

A conviction could come with a 10-year prison sentence. Further, the Chinese telecommunications equipment manufacturer said it complies with all laws in the countries it operates in and requires employees do the same. Various countries, including the Britain, France, Germany, Norway, have publicly raised concerns about using Huawei equipment for next-generation mobile networks.

The Chinese foreign ministry said it is "greatly concerned" by the arrests and has urged Poland to act justly.

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Poland Arrests Huawei Employee on Spy Charges
Other countries have concerns too: It has been prevented from supplying next-generation 5G equipment to Australia and New Zealand. What do we know so far? The two men were arrested on Tuesday, according to Polish state television TVP .

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The Polish state news agency says a Polish man who has been charged with spying for China had held top cybersecurity positions at different state agencies and had been involved in projects co-financed by the European Union.

A woman uses her phone as she walks past a Huawei shop in Beijing, China, December 19, 2018.

While China's government has vociferously defended Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou and demanded her release, the firm swiftly sacked Wang, who works at its representative office in Poland.

Ties between the USA and China have become increasingly strained since Canadian authorities arrested a Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou, in December at the request of U.S. authorities.

Most of Canada's allies in the Five Eyes intelligence alliance have banned the Chinese telco from their emerging 5G networks, the next evolution in wireless internet technology.

The Polish spy agency and Poland's state television, which is closely tied to the Polish government, reported the arrests and the searches at both Huawei and Orange.

Scott Bradley, senior vice-president of corporate affairs at Huawei Canada, disclosed his departure in a LinkedIn post but did not give a reason for the move.

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