Meanwhile, as President Donald Trump considers an executive order that would bar U.S. companies from using equipment made by Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese telecommunications firms, a group of lawmakers have introduced a bill that would ban Chinese telecommunications companies from buying chips and components made in the U.S., Reuters reports. The most recent development involves China re-sentencing a Canadian citizen detained in the country to death, which the US believes is entirely politically motivated. China's rise as an economic and military competitor to the USA have only intensified those worries.
Separate allegations that Huawei could be spying on the behalf of Chinese intelligence agencies have resulted in the USA prohibiting the use of its technology for government work, as well as barring it from installing telecom equipment in major markets.
It was this lawsuit that reportedly started the Justice Department's investigation into the company's alleged theft of trade secrets. The companies say they are independent of the Chinese government and would not allow their products to be used for spying by the government. Beijing denied, however, that the detention had anything to do with Meng's case.
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"This is another prong in what is starting to feel like a full 360-degree assault on the business", said Isaac Stone Fish, a senior fellow at the Asia Society in NY.
It's no secret that Huawei and the US government don't see eye to eye. The probe is "at an advanced stage" the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
Huawei, the second-largest global smartphone maker and biggest producer of telecommunications equipment, has for years been under scrutiny in the United States over purported links to the Chinese government. Spokesperson Hua Chunying stated that continuing such an investigation into Huawei would be "a violation of free and fair business competition" and "a violation rule of law". Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying called the US legislation "hysteria", and suggested that USA lawmakers block the bills. "We hope the USA can create a fair competitive environment for Chinese enterprises operating in the U.S".
At the time, Washington had announced an indictment against Chinese chipmaker Fujian Jinhua for stealing trade secrets from U.S. semiconductor company Micron Technology relating to research and development of memory storage devices. "This is not what the No. 1 world power should do". US lawmakers have also banded together to ban chip sales to Huawei, ZTE, and other mainland companies to over sanctions violations. In 2012, congressional committees and other USA government entities criticized Huawei's "pattern of disregard for the intellectual property rights of other entities and companies in the U.S".
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Congressional leaders are working on a new piece of legislation that would penalize Chinese telecom companies known to be conducting espionage in the United States on behalf of the Communist government, according to lawmakers and senior congressional officials.
For its part, ZTE agreed past year to pay a $1 billion fine to the United States that had been imposed because the company breached a USA embargo on trade with Iran.
Meng, the daughter of the company's founder, was arrested in Canada on December 1 and released on bail four weeks ago. She is living under restrictions in her multimillion-dollar Vancouver home.
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