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US intelligence officials are investigating the presence of Chinese telecom firms in the country. It marks growing concern in the United States that the Chinese regime is carrying out cyber espionage through major Chinese firms.
US lawmakers are looking into the expansion of Chinese telecom firms. The House Intelligence Committee last week announced it will investigate if two major companies, Huawei and ZTE Corporation, pose a security threat to the United States through telecommunications infrastructures.
Huawei is China's largest provider of telecom equipment, and has aggressively expanded overseas in recent years. Its operations in the United States have faced opposition from those concerned about its possible ties to the Chinese regime's military. Huawei's founder was an engineer in the army, but the private company says he left 25 years ago, and has no links with the Chinese regime.
Former Chinese intelligence officer Li Fengzhi says this does not rule out Huawei and other Chinese firms from engaging in intelligence work in the United States.
[Li Fengzhi, Former Chinese Intelligence Officer]:
"They will register a company in the target country, like the US by a private individual, or a branch of a large private enterprise, or something with government backing. They can then place intelligence workers here who look for opportunities to obtain important or sometimes trivial intelligence, including military intelligence."
Earlier this month, US intelligence officials accused the Chinese regime of being the biggest perpetrator of economic espionage. Representative Mike Rogers, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, echoed those claims last week. His committee launched an investigation to find out whether Chinese telecom firms in the US give the Chinese regime "an opportunity for greater foreign espionage."