China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has called for the United States’ Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reverse its decision to revoke the operating licence of China Telecom Americas.
The ministry published a statement in Chinese daily Global Times accusing the US of “politicising economic issues” and calling for “a fair, non-discriminatory environment for Chinese companies to invest and operate in the US”.
China Telecom Americas is a subsidiary of China Telecom, which is backed by the Chinese government. The FCC has blocked a number of Chinese firms from operating in the United States over national security concerns – in particular, the fear that sensitive data could be handed over to Chinese authorities.
Any companies that operate in China are obliged to turn over such information to the government upon request. Yesterday, US-based Yahoo announced that it would exit the Chinese market; the firm drew criticism from US lawmakers after complying with this legislation in 2007 by supplying data that led to the arrest of two Chinese dissidents.
Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE have been particular targets of the US campaign, along with the state operators China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom.